ARSENE Wenger believes Theo Walcott's omission from the England World Cup squad will make him stronger for next season.

The Frenchman, who is working as a pundit in South Africa, was 'sad' to see the 21-year-old get the boot from England boss Fabio Capello but insisted he would 'bounce back'.

“I must say that it was a big surprise and it was sad as well,” Wenger told “Theo is not only a quality player but he can have an impact when he comes on. However you have to live with the verdict.

“I've had a little text exchange with Theo and he will bounce back. In fact I think it will make him even more determined for next season. He's a very level-headed guy and very strong.”