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BECKS OUT.. THEO IN! EXCLUSIVE CAPELLO'S NEW ENGLAND.

Byline: OLIVER HOLT CHIEF SPORTS WRITER in Barcelona

THEO WALCOTT could be handed a shock starting role in Fabio Capello's first competitive match as England boss here tomorrow.

Walcott is being lined up to start instead of David Beckham when England kick off their World Cup qualifying campaign against minnows Andorra.

Capello is toying with the idea of resting Beckham for the game against the no-hopers of European football where anything other than a win is unthinkable.

His selections have been notoriously hard to predict and he is still considering the merits of Beckham, Walcott and Tottenham's David Bentley for the place on the right of the England midfield.

Even though Walcott has already won two England caps, it would be the biggest test of his career so far if he were to get the nod tomorrow.

The last time England played Andorra in Barcelona's Olympic Stadium, the arena turned into a bear-pit with abuse hurled at players and under-fire former boss Steve McClaren.

The atmosphere will be different this time but there will still be pressure on England's struggling superstars to turn in a sparkling performance so that they can travel to Zagreb in good heart for the crunch tie against Croatia next Wednesday.

It is thought Capello wants to keep former England skipper Beckham fresh for that match and is leaning towards Walcott as his replacement.

Walcott, 19, has started four of Arsenal's five competitive games this season and has impressed England's Italian boss.

Capello has been experimenting in training this week with playing him on the right of midfield with Middlesbrough's Stewart Downing on the left.

He has become increasingly concerned with the lack of pace in the England side and knows that Walcott's presence would remedy that.

That means England's youngest-ever player has sneaked ahead of Bentley in the race to be Beckham's stand-in tomorrow.

CAPTION(S):

ALL CHANGE Capello wants Becks for Croatia
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 5, 2008
Words:318
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