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Paper Monitor

11:20 UK time, Wednesday, 2 June 2010

A service highlighting the riches of the daily press.

Poor little Theo Walcott. He had hoped to be on his way to his second World Cup - perhaps even get a proper go with the big boys this time around - only to have his dreams dashed at the last minute. Who'd be a Boy Wonder, eh?

The Guardian reflects on the sadness of his fate (phoned by his manager while playing golf, disbelieving at first, then stoic for the media).

"A lasting memory from Theo Walcott's premature elevation to the England World Cup squad in 2006 is of him clip-clopping round Baden Baden with his family on a pony and trap. What started out as a chance to match Michael Owen's precocity ended up as a kind of school exchange."

The Daily Telegraph waxes poetic about the game of golf that will live with Walcott forever:

"He had thought it would be the last chance to really unwind before flying to South Africa and was joined at his local Brocket Hall Club by a friend and a close relative. Walcott's mobile phone was switched on, but the natural expectation was that their round of golf would be disturbed by nothing more than a text message to confirm his inclusion in the final England 23. When Walcott's phone suddenly rang and he heard Fabio Capello's voice at the other end, his stomach immediately began to churn."

What might Capello have said? The Times's cartoonist imagines the exchange thus:

"Theo... you know that holiday you said you needed..."

(Paper Monitor's colleagues on the Magazine have put together a print-out-and-keep guide to breaking bad news.)

Well, he could always join his family in South Africa to watch England play in the World Cup. As the Daily Mail notes more than once, his friends and family have already booked flights and accommodation. And why wear a replica shirt on the terraces when one has several real England shirts? Shame to let 'em go to waste, eh?

But the Mail notes another dark cloud on the horizon - the curse of the World Cup advertising campaign, in the shape of Walcott modelling a £120 England suit for Marks & Spencer:

"He now stares down from billboards, TV and newspaper adverts as a painful reminder that coach Fabio Capello doesn't think he's good enough to play for his country.
[E]mbarrassingly he also features in Nike ads, cut into a giant Mount Rushmore-style billboard and in a mocked-up TV ad that showed him 'playing at the finals'."

Still, he looks well in the light grey three-piece suit ("SUITED AND BOOTED" was how the Sun and Mail cruelly, but oh-so-neatly, put it). Just the thing for wedding/christening/etc season.

See? A spoonful of sugar and the dark cloud goes down. Or something.

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