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  • Nickname:Three Lions
  • Founded: 1872
  • Manager:Roy Hodgson
  • Ground:Wembley Stadium
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Sven: Owen is ready

05 Jun 2006 - 09:52:44

Coach Sven-Goran Eriksson has no doubts that Michael Owen is ready to play in England's World Cup opener against Paraguay on Saturday.

A broken bone in his foot ensured the Newcastle United striker saw just 30 minutes of action during the second half of the Premiership campaign and he looked sluggish on his return to the national team in last Tuesday's 3-1 win against Hungary.

However, Owen produced a greatly improved performance during the 6-0 victory against Jamaica at Old Trafford at the weekend, as he scored one, created two and won a penalty.

"Michael wanted to show himself, myself and the coaches he's ready for the World Cup," said Eriksson.

"His performance was much, much better than last Tuesday.

"I think Michael knows his body and he's always been calculating 'the World Cup is close, I will show who Michael Owen is'. He will probably play even better next Saturday.

"He made the right movements, a lot of runs into space behind the full-backs and he fought for the ball in the air even though he doesn't win many up there, and that had been only so-so last Tuesday.

"I think it was a quite different Michael Owen compared to five days before."

Owen's goal against Jamaica was his 36th in 77 appearances for England.

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