Former England winger Chris Waddle believes Theo Walcott "doesn't understand the game" and should not be in the international reckoning.
Walcott made a bright start in England's 3-1 win over Egypt on Wednesday, bursting past defenders to create a simple chance for Frank Lampard, but he struggled in the aftermath and was eventually substituted early in the second half after repeatedly running into trouble.
It has been a difficult season for Walcott and, a fortnight before his 21st birthday, many feel he has yet to show any real development since leaving Southampton for Arsenal in 2006 and Waddle, who won 62 caps for his country, has now suggested there is little hope he will fulfil expectations.
"People keep saying he's young but Wayne Rooney understood the game at 16, 17," Waddle said. "I've never seen any difference in Theo Walcott since he was at Southampton and broke into the team at a very young age.
"I've never seen him develop. He just doesn't understand the game for me - where to be running, when to run inside a full-back, (when to) just play a one-two."
Speaking on BBC Radio Five Live, Waddle said: "It's all off the cuff. The ball comes to him and if he gets a good first touch he might be on his way if he shows pace, but he has a plan in his mind before the ball comes to him.
"He's not looking as if to think, 'This is where I want to be, this is where I want to go, and this is what I'm going to do'. It just seems to be all off the cuff.
"People keep saying to me, 'Oh he's young and he'll learn'. I keep thinking, 'Fabregas has learnt and he's young, Rooney has learnt... they all read the game so well'.
"I just don't think he's got a football brain and he's going to have problems. Eventually he could play up front, but would he know where to run? Let's be honest, good defenders would catch him offside every time.
"I just don't know whether he studies the game, learns the game, or what. He's at a great club where they play fantastic football week-in, week-out, and I'm just surprised he's never developed his game."
Waddle admits that he was surprised to see Walcott in the squad ahead of in-form Manchester City winger Adam Johnson and does not feel the hat-trick he scored against Croatia warrants his continued inclusion.
"I'm surprised Walcott was in the squad," Waddle said. "He doesn't play a lot of football, he hasn't done anything. He hasn't done anything for a long time and I think Croatia was a one-off.
"I just think he's got a lot to learn. I've been more impressed by Adam Johnson at Manchester City than Theo Walcott."
Former England boss Graham Taylor agreed with Waddle. "I'm not going to be in any disagreement at all," he said. "I haven't seen the improvement of Theo Walcott in terms of what Chris is saying of reading the game. I just haven't seen it. I just see a problem there."