ARSENAL boss Arsene Wenger has backed Theo Walcott to make England's 23-man World Cup squad for the tournament in South Africa this summer.

The 20-year-old striker has suffered with a succession of injuries this season, but has struggled to recapture his best form since returning in the 4-2 victory over Bolton Wanderers at the Emirates on January 10.

But Wenger claims Walcott is being placed under 'terrible pressure' to perform and has urged for patience ahead of Fabio Capello's squad unveiling.

“The World Cup is not today,” said Wenger. “It is in June. I think he will make the squad, yes.

“The problem is that everyone has the England national team in their mind and, because you want to bring the World Cup back to London, you want everybody to be on top today.

“They will be in the long run but when players have been out for a while it takes a while to get back to your best with confidence, sharpness and zip. That will come back with Theo.”

Capello was in attendance to monitor Walcott's progress during Arsenal's 2-0 victory over Sunderland on Saturday. Although the young forward had the better of left-back George McCartney for much of the contest, his final ball often lacked precision.

“It's terrible pressure,” Wenger said. “But that's the modern media. When I played there was no television and no cameras were on Capello. Today everything is analysed on Match of the Day and then people will try to get Capello to analyse it.”