Despite Man United move, Owen not in England squad

Michael Owen has been overlooked again by England, with coach Fabio Capello prolonging the striker's international exile.

updated: August 09, 2009 17:20 IST
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Michael Owen has been overlooked again by England, with coach Fabio Capello prolonging the striker's international exile despite his strong preseason with new club Manchester United.

The 29-year-old Owen's surprise move to the Premier League champions last month after his Newcastle contract expired raised expectations that he could return for Wednesday's friendly at the Netherlands after 18 months out of England's squad.

But the four strikers included Saturday in the 23-man squad were Man United teammate Wayne Rooney, Emile Heskey, Jermain Defoe and Carlton Cole.

Owen hasn't played for England since a friendly against France in March 2008, early in Capello's reign, as he struggled with a series of injuries and poor form with Newcastle.

Owen scored four goals on United's preseason tour of Asia, and manager Alex Ferguson believes he can make it to the World Cup if he proves himself this season.

"Fabio has got to pick the best players for England and he's not going to pick someone on his reputation from eight years ago," Ferguson said. "Michael's name and reputation alone will not get him into next year's World Cup squad.

"It's what he does with us over the next season that will, hopefully, get him into the England squad for South Africa."

A more unexpected omission from the squad was Capello's usual first-choice goalkeeper, David James, who missed the World Cup qualifying wins over Kazakhstan and Andorra in June after undergoing shoulder surgery.

Manchester United's backup goalkeeper, Ben Foster, also missed the June matches due to a thumb operation, but is included along with West Ham's Robert Green and Blackburn's Paul Robinson.

David Beckham will fly from the United States for the friendly despite it coming in the middle of the Major League Soccer season.


Goalkeepers: Ben Foster (Manchester United), Robert Green (West Ham), Paul Robinson (Blackburn).

Defenders: Wayne Bridge (Manchester City), Ashley Cole (Chelsea), Rio Ferdinand (Manchester United), Glen Johnson (Liverpool), Joleon Lescott (Everton), John Terry (Chelsea), Matthew Upson (West Ham).

Midfielders: Gareth Barry (Manchester City), David Beckham (Los Angeles Galaxy), Michael Carrick (Manchester United), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Frank Lampard (Chelsea), James Milner (Aston Villa), Theo Walcott (Arsenal), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Manchester City), Ashley Young (Aston Villa).

Strikers: Carlton Cole (West Ham), Emile Heskey (Aston Villa), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham), Wayne Rooney (Manchester United).