FORMER Saints star Theo Walcott and girlfriend Melanie Slade are engaged, it has been confirmed.

The childhood sweethearts, both 22, met seven years ago while Mel was working at Claire’s Accessories in Southampton WestQuay shopping centre and Theo was a junior at Saints.

Down-to-earth Mel, the daughter of former Southampton mayor John Slade, was catapulted into the limelight when Arsenal striker Theo was a shock pick for the England squad for the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

Former Itchen College student Mel has now started a job as a sports physiotherapist after completing her studies at St George's University Hospital in London.

The couple are not expected to wed until next year.