Theo Walcott expects to return to action stronger than ever after stepping up his recovery from a season-ending cruciate ligament injury.
The Arsenal winger jarred his knee during the Gunners' 2-0 derby FA Cup victory over Tottenham Hotspur in January and scans later revealed ligament damage that ruled him out of the rest of the domestic campaign - and the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™.
But the 24-year-old England international is walking again, seven weeks after undergoing surgery, and insists he never considered pursuing a 'quick fix' in a bid to reach the Brazil finals. Speaking to several national newspapers, he said: "It has taken me a while to get the walking right, but it is nearly there.
"At the moment, I am taking it week by week and trying to hit targets. I can't do much yet. I don't want to be pushing the injury and not be 100 per cent and cause other injuries. I was never tempted by any of the offers from people saying they could get me fit for the World Cup. I followed the club's advice. I went to a consultant in London and it was a great decision."
Walcott was a surprise omission from Fabio Capello's World Cup squad four years ago having travelled to the German tournament in 2006 as an untested 17-year-old. "You can't do anything about the injury and with the Capello incident I just wanted to prove I was good enough, and the following year I had a very good year," he added.
"They are totally different situations. No players like to be injured, a lot of players suffer from horrendous injuries. I know it's going to make me a better person and a stronger person. I don't want to look at six months' time. I want to look at 10-15 years and still be playing."
Walcott drew some criticism for gesturing '2-0' to Spurs fans with his fingers while being carried off the Emirates pitch on a stretcher, but the former Southampton player does not regret his actions, describing them as "banter".
"No I don't regret it at all," he said. "All the stewards were getting stuff peppered at them even before. Me and Tottenham, you always have that banter. They do it to me, I do it to them, it's just a bit of fun really. I've seen some Tottenham fans since then and they have said 'if it was one of our players (making the gesture) I would have loved it'."