Footballer Theo Walcott, 22, gets engaged to girlfriend Melanie Slade after seven years of dating

Footballer Theo Walcott, 22, gets engaged to girlfriend Melanie Slade after seven years of dating

Footballer Theo Walcott has proposed to his girlfriend of seven years, Melanie Slade.

The pair are still only 22, but have been dating since they were 15.

England and Arsenal ace Theo got down on one knee on New Year’s Eve at their home in Hertfordshire, the Sunday Mirror reported.

Young and in love: Arsenal footballer Theo Walcott and girlfriend Melanie Slade, both 22, became engaged on New Year's Eve

Young and in love: Arsenal footballer Theo Walcott and girlfriend Melanie Slade, both 22, became engaged on New Year's Eve

Melanie's engagement ring has one huge diamond and two smaller ones either side.

A source told the paper: 'Mel is over the moon, the ring is stunning.'

The couple had reportedly hoped to keep the news quiet but it was impossible due to the huge sparkler on Melanie's finger.

The wedding is not expected to be held until next year to wed, leaving winger Theo free to concentrate on his game with Arsenal in the hope he will play for England in the Euro 2012.

Showing his skills: The wedding is not expected to be held until next year to wed, leaving winger Theo free to concentrate on his game with Arsenal

Showing his skills: The wedding is not expected to be held until next year to wed, leaving winger Theo free to concentrate on his game with Arsenal

The source added: 'They will probably do it next summer when they have more time off to organise it – they won’t be searching for a magazine deal, though!'

Last year Melanie said she’d love to marry Theo when she finished her studies.

She has since started a job as a sports physiotherapist.

A spokesman for the footballer has confirmed the engagement.