England boss Fabio Capello has likened Arsenal starlet Theo Walcott to Diego Maradona.

"I think when you find a young player, a good player, an interesting player at the top level, you have to play with them," said Capello. "His age is not important. What is important is his quality, his confidence. Then he has to play. It is a stupid example but Maradona played when he was 16. He was ready. And Theo? He is ready.

"Walcott played a fantastic game against Croatia but I thought that he had played well against Andorra as well."

That would seem to rule Walcott out of next summer's European Under-21 Championships should England qualify. Capello said: "I can understand why Sven Goran Eriksson took him to the World Cup when he was 17. Perhaps in this moment, he was too young. Now he is ready."