Walcott's talents a 'lethal mix' - Lee

November 14, 2006

Stand-in coach Sammy Lee described Theo Walcott's talents as a 'lethal mix' as he prepares England Under-21s for their friendly against Holland in Alkmaar tonight.

Walcott, the 17-year-old Arsenal forward, is expected to feature in an experimental line-up against the Dutch following seven withdrawals through injury.

While in the backroom staff with the seniors, Lee had a close look at Walcott at the World Cup when the youngster was chosen but famously not played as England limped out last summer.

'Better people than me - Arsene Wenger and Sven-Goran Eriksson, for example - have seen the quality of the lad, and I did when I was in Germany,' said Lee.

'You don't have to be a Philadelphia lawyer to see the quality he possesses - the enthusiasm, the desire, the youthful exuberance and the talent and ability.

'You just have to be patient and give him the platform to develop on a natural basis rather than push him too early into the spotlight.'

Walcott has impressed in cameo roles for Arsenal and has scored four goals in his first four under-21s appearances - displaying his pace against Germany in a play-off win to reach next year's European Championship finals, which are also in Holland.

Lee added: 'Pace is really important in the modern game, but that only underlines his ability and quality - it's a lethal mix to play against.'

Lee is in charge of the under-21s for just one match, while Peter Taylor concentrates on club matters at struggling Coca-Cola Championship side Crystal Palace.

England boss Steve McClaren has been looking for a full-time boss for the under-21s, which Lee was earmarked for but never officially offered.

Appointing a full-time coach was never officially approved by the Football Association - and Lee stayed at Bolton as assistant boss, while Taylor continued in a part-time capacity while still at Palace day to day.

'I firmly believe that it should be full-time, because to do it right it needs to be,' added Lee.

'It's no good to have it part-time, because the best man for the job part-time is in the job now - and that is Peter Taylor.

'First and foremost I wasn't offered it because it wasn't offered as a full-time post.

'If it was a full-time post I think anybody and everybody would be interested in taking on such a prestigious and important developmental role.'