Owen pleased by Rooney's return

19 June 2006 09:10
Michael Owen is confident Wayne Rooney's return to the England team will help him rediscover his best form. The Newcastle United striker was a peripheral figure in the World Cup victories against Paraguay and Trinidad & Tobago as England relied on long balls forward to Peter Crouch. Rooney, now fully recovered from a broken metatarsal, will replace Crouch in the starting line-up in England's final Group B match against Sweden in Cologne and Owen is looking forward to the return of his regular strike partner. "It is simple. We have not been getting the ball in the right areas," he said. "I am totally reliant on my team-mates in that respect. If the team are firing on all cylinders and playing well and getting players into places where I come alive, then you'll see a different me. "If we can get someone just behind me or in midfield with their head up, then I come alive. "You would think there would not be as many longer balls because obviously Wayne and myself are not that tall. It may encourage players to keep it on the deck a bit more." Owen, who has 36 international goals to his name, also insisted his struggle for form since his return from a five-month lay-off with a foot injury has not left him short of confidence. He added: "I've been out for a large part of the season so it's inevitable that I'm not going to be on the absolute top of my game straight away. "But I feel fine, fresh, fit and coming into a little bit of form. "There's a belief about me because I've done it before at this level."

Source: ESA