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Walcott hopes to offer England something different

By Super

LONDON, May 9 (Reuters) Theo Walcott had booked a driving test and a family holiday in June before his surprise national call-up which could make him the youngest player to pull on an England shirt.

The 17-year-old Arsenal striker, who has yet to play a Premier League match, said today he had been shocked and amazed when his father told him the news he was going to Germany instead.

''I didn't think it was true. I was shocked. My eyes were coming out of my head. I can't believe this,'' Walcott said in an interview on Sky Sports.

''The biggest thing was Arsenal and now this is incredible.'' Walcott signed for the European Cup finalists from second division Southampton in January for an initial five million pounds (9.28 million dollars), although that could rise to 12 million.

Though England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has yet to see him play in the flesh, injuries to top strikers Wayne Rooney and Michael Owen forced the normally cautious Swede to take a chance on the prodigy.

''Of course it's a gamble but I just want to train hard. I train with world class players now and (England players) are world class...I can only improve,'' said Walcott.

''The driving test was due in June...and I was going on holiday with the family. We cancelled it. It's no big deal,'' he said.

Composed under questioning, Walcott refuses to be overawed at the prospect of playing on an international stage.

''I've been to big stadiums -- the Bernabeu when I was itching to get on -- it's not going to get bigger than that really,'' he said.

''The likes of Rooney and (Michael) Owen have been put in at young ages so maybe if I do like them I can go far.

''There's something different I can give to England maybe.'' REUTERS PG BD1810

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