Sven upbeat on Owen
26 Apr 2006 - 08:57:14
Sven-Goran Eriksson is confident Michael Owen will be fit for the World Cup finals, but has hinted that Ashley Cole could miss out on a place in England's squad.
Eriksson will name a 27-man provisional squad for Germany 2006 on May 8, before deciding on his final 23 ahead of the FIFA deadline a week later.
If everyone was fit selecting the squad would pose few problems for the coach, but the issue has been complicated by the fact Owen, Cole, Sol Campbell, Ledley King, Luke Young and Jermaine Jenas are all recovering from injuries
"If you think about players like Ashley Cole and Michael Owen, it is easier for them to be fit than Ledley King and Sol Campbell," said Eriksson, when quizzed about how many players with fitness problems he would risk taking.
"So I think you have to take it from case to case.
"The latest I heard [about Owen] was this morning. Hopefully he is sitting on the bench [for Newcastle] on Saturday and hopefully he will get a few minutes and will play from the beginning in the last game."
While going to the World Cup without Owen is almost unthinkable, Eriksson is prepared to be tougher with Cole, who has only played one first-team game since October, and King, who will miss the end of the Premiership season with a stress fracture in his foot.
He added: "I saw Ashley Cole playing in the reserves last week and he did okay.
"Of course he did not play against Villarreal but I hope he will play again. Arsenal have three league games left and I hope he will take part in at least one of them.
"That would be good. It would be very bad if he is not playing and I have to leave him out because a fit Ashley Cole is one of the best left defenders in the world today.
"I have not spoken to Ledley but our doctor has spoken to Tottenham's doctor and we will check up on Ledley, and Jenas of course.
"Jenas I think will be okay, Ledley we don't know today."