Arsenal's Walcott called up to England U-21 squad

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Arsenal winger Theo Walcott has been called up for the England Under-21 squad to face Macedonia on Friday.

A lack of match fitness prevented the forward's inclusion in the senior squad for the senior England team's World Cup qualifier against Ukraine.

However, Young Lions coach Stuart Pearce and Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger both agreed that this was a good time for the player to join the U-21 squad.

Wenger had been upset over the player's inclusion in Pearce's squad for the European Under-21 Championships in the summer, but was happy for him to be called up this time after a discussion with Pearce.

"This is the perfect opportunity for the Under-21s to support the senior team," Pearce said, according to The Press Association. "I spoke with Arsene Wenger and we both agreed it would be right for Theo to come and join the squad."

Walcott replaces Sunderland's Lee Cattermole, who has withdrawn with a heel problem. Chelsea defender Tom Hutchinson has also pulled out after being injured in the Blues' reserve game with Arsenal on Monday night.