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Theo must play but he'll take some stick, says Merson

PUBLISHED: 17:24 07 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:28 07 September 2010

Paul Merson has warned Theo Walcott to expect some rough treatment from Kazakhstan s defenders when England take on the central Asian minnows in their vital World Cup qualifier at Wembley on Saturday. The former Gunner, capped 21 times, says the 19-year-o

Paul Merson has warned Theo Walcott to expect some rough treatment from Kazakhstan's defenders when England take on the central Asian minnows in their vital World Cup qualifier at Wembley on Saturday.

The former Gunner, capped 21 times, says the 19-year-old attacker must start the game after his stunning individual display in last month's 4-1 win in Croatia.

"He is an absolute certainty to play," Merson, 40, tells Ham&High Series Sport.

"The lad has just scored a hat-trick for England away at the fifth-best Fifa ranked side in the world.

"Theo's would be the first name down on my teamsheet."

See this week's Ham&High for Jem Maidment's interview in full.

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