Theo Walcott, Arsenal's three-goal England teenage matchwinner in Croatia on Wednesday night, has ignited the national team's charge towards World Cup qualification, and done his own personal value no harm either, as shares in him on the Stock Market went through the roof today.
Walcott, who can run at 63mph, became the first player to score an England World Cup hat-trick since Gary Lineker bagged one against Poland in Monterrey in 1986. The clean-cut youth celebrated by having a bottle of pop, and a pack of his favourite Salt & Vinegar crisps, something else he shares with the Match of the Day host.
Traders at the London Stock Exchange were buoyant this morning when the markets opened, the Nikkei showing a 12% increase in Walcott shares, and the Hang Seng reporting a similar rise. The quick little lad was worth £8million on Tuesday, but by tonight, was quoted at anywhere between £9million and £12million, depending on your command of Asian languages.
Walcott scored England's first, second and fourth goals in the 4-1 drubbing of Slaven Bilic's team, leaving them top of Group 6, and manager Fabio Capello couldn't speak highly enough of Walcott. This was because, despite having come on leaps-and-bounds in English, Capello sticks to well-practised cliches when addressing the Press.
Bilic reportedly suggested England shirts should have their Three Lions removed, and replaced with Three Kittens prior to Wednesday's mauling, but he won't be bleating much today after Walcott's supreme strikes against the Croats.
Walcott, 14, said:
"The important thing is the 3 points. Me mum told me to say that. She handles stocks, shares, pocket money and stuff like that."