Sven-Goran Eriksson gives savage response when Darren Bent asks why he picked Theo Walcott in England squad for 2006 World Cup

It may be 15 years on, but not being picked for the 2006 World Cup still hurts Darren Bent.

Heading into the tournament, the then Charlton striker fired in 18 Premier League goals and was the top scoring Englishman in the country.


Bent was on fire for Charlton in the 2005/06 Premier League season[/caption]

Only Thierry Henry (27) and Ruud van Nistelrooy (21) scored more than Bent that season.

Remarkably, Bent was omitted from Sven-Goran Eriksson’s England squad as Theo Walcott was selected.

Walcott was just 17 at the time and had never made an appearance in the Premier League, having spent the season in the Championship with Southampton before signing for Arsenal.

The England boss also admitted before the tournament even started that he would not get any game time, he was just going for the experience.


Walcott was a shock inclusion in the 2006 World Cup squad, having never played top flight football[/caption]

All the more baffling as Wayne Rooney headed into the tournament recovering from a metatarsal injury and did not start the first two group games.

The World Cup ultimately ended in disappointment as England crashed out of the quarter-finals on penalties to Portugal, with Rooney sent off early in that game.

Eriksson joined talkSPORT Breakfast on Tuesday with Bent taking the opportunity to get some answers as to why he didn’t go.

Bent asked: “Obviously I’m going to go back to 2006, for personal reasons. Theo Walcott, I didn’t go, what was your thinking behind that?”


Eriksson was in charge of the England national team between 2001 and 2006[/caption]

Eriksson’s reply was particularly savage towards Bent and thinks it wouldn’t have made a difference whoever he picked.

Eriksson told talkSPORT: “Walcott? Well I couldn’t find anyone better. Then I thought why not take him with his speed, but also when you pick number 23 he will probably not win the World Cup for you. 

“I thought, for the future, he will be very good and it was a pity he couldn’t play and depended a lot that Rooney got sent off and we played an hour with 10 against 11 against Portugal in the quarter-final. It was not time to change anything at that time.

“We can discuss that for a long time. I thought it was a good idea and I had a lot of talks about it and decided to take him.

“The media were very positive about it, but when he didn’t play they were very negative about it.

“We did it. If it was right or wrong, who knows. Whatever I had done there, it wouldn’t have changed the result in the World Cup.”

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