skip to content

Cap hints at England end for Owen

More

29 Mar 2009 22:30:00

Cap hints at England end for Owen

England coach Fabio Capello has hinted that Michael Owen's career with the national team could well have come to an injury-plagued end.England's fourth highest goalscorer has endured a miserable time with injuries of late.The latest in a succession of problems with Newcastle has been ankle ligament trouble, which ruled him out for five games, before he was promptly dropped for the defeat by Arsenal at St James' Park last week.Yet Owen is only 29, four years younger than David Beckham and still harbours strong ambitions to increase his 40-goal tally for the Three Lions and get closer to Sir Bobby Charlton's all-time record of 49.Unfortunately for the former Liverpool star, Capello is only interested in what lies ahead rather than glories of the past.He has given Owen just one cap during his reign so far, as a substitute in the friendly defeat to France in Paris 12 months ago.And the Italian has offered no indication another will be forthcoming soon, providing a withering assessment as he explained why Owen did not even enter his thinking as a replacement for thigh injury victim Carlton Cole ahead of England's vital World Cup qualifier against the Ukraine."I have to choose players to play against the Ukraine, not against history," said Capello."I have chosen the best players who are in good form at the moment."It is impossible to choose someone who has only played for 20 minutes. Why didn't he play the last game?"Capello did state if Owen were to "play three or four games he would be with us" but alongside the comment about the striker's past glories it seemed pretty insignificant.And more importantly than either assessment, was confirmation, moments earlier, of how Capello envisages his team for the future."We play with three midfielders, two players like Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard and one forward," he declared.As Rooney and Gerrard are such pivotal figures, operating in the gap between midfield and a centre forward capable of holding the ball up and bringing others into play, as opposed to one who plays on the shoulder of the last defender, it is difficult to see how Owen could possibly fit in.It is stating the obvious to declare Rooney and Gerrard to be automatic choices and Capello only has to point at England's results over the past few months to provide more than adequate justification for his position."I want Rooney and Gerrard to be very free to move around when we have the ball," he said."That is the way I want them to play."Rooney in particular has a special place in Capello's heart.The Manchester United striker has now scored seven times in four games, so even if the leading man up front does not find the target that often - and Emile Heskey broke a six-year drought by getting the opener in yesterday's 4-0 romp over Slovakia - it is not that much of a problem."I am very happy when Rooney plays," said Capello."He is different to the other players and has always done well with the national team."I was sure he would score goals for us. I told him some things about the movement he needed to do in front of goal."But he is a very big talent. He can do everything."Capello will be without Carlton Cole and Emile Heskey through injury against Ukraine, although the fact he moved so quickly to draft in Darren Bent suggests he is loathe to split the Rooney-Gerrard axis by playing his in-form striker further up the field.Whatever Capello decides, it is fair to assume his players will buy into the idea such is the confidence England have in their Italian leader.And Aaron Lennon is among those set to prosper as Capello


Eurosport

Sponsored links

Facebook comments

Related England News

advertisement

advertisment