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EXCLUSIVE: England boss Capello ends Michael Owen's World Cup dream

08 Nov 2009 14:58:58

EXCLUSIVE: England boss Capello ends Michael Owen's World Cup dream

Michael Owen's World Cup dream is all but over, with Fabio Capello refusing to recall the Manchester United striker for the England squad to play Brazil next Saturday. The England manager will be at Stamford Bridge for this afternoon's showdown between Premier League champions United and current leaders Chelsea, but Owen will not be named in the squad this evening. Out of favour: Capello does not consider Owen's recent form for United to be sufficient to merit a recall Capello does not consider Owen's recent form for United, in which he has started three games of the past six and scored two goals, to be sufficient to merit a recall and remains committed to Jermain Defoe, who he watched yesterday for Tottenham against Sunderland, as understudy to Wayne Rooney. When it was put to Capello that Owen, who has scored 40 goals for England in 89 appearances, was now fit, scoring goals and playing for United, the England manager replied: 'He has played one game,' referring to his midweek start against CSKA Moscow, in which he scored. 'I will be at Chelsea to check him - if he plays.' Tellingly, Capello outlined his preferred choices when he added: 'We have Rooney and Heskey is fit, because he played a half against West Ham, Defoe was suspended and I checked on him at Tottenham, we have Crouch, Carlton Cole is out but he wasn't in the last squad. We have five or six forwards but I have to choose four.' Former European Footballer of the Year Owen, once an iconic member of the team and scorer of one of the most memorable World Cup goals at France 98 when just an 18-year-old, has played only once for England during Capello's reign as manager, against France in March of last year. Don't miss the bus: They look like any old group of Sunday league footballers just hanging around on an autumn day waiting for the team bus. The difference is that this particular bunch kicking their heels hoping that the coach turns up on time includes Michael Owen, Anderson and the other multi-millionaires from Manchester United as the Premier League's finest prepare to hotfoot it down the motorway for today's clash at Chelsea. With just one more friendly scheduled before Capello finalises his squad for South Africa next summer, Owen's only chance would be if there were an abnormal number of injuries Even though Carlton Cole is out with a hamstring injury it will be of no help to Owen, as Capello is expected to retain Rooney, Defoe, Heskey and Crouch, with Darren Bent and Gabriel Agbonlahor considered if he decides to pick a fifth striker. The Italian may find himself in confrontation with Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez, who wants England to leave Steven Gerrard out of the squad even if he plays for Liverpool against Birmingham City tomorrow night. Gerrard is suffering from a persistent groin injury which may need surgery, and Benitez also wants right-back Glen Johnson, who has a calf injury, to be excused. Benitez said: 'I have not talked with Capello but Gerrard has not trained for 15 days and I don't see the point of England taking a player who has not trained for 15 days. If Gerrard plays on Monday it will be because we have pushed and pushed him. 'But you cannot tell me he is fit. He can be available but not match fit. So I would be surprised if England feel they need him for a friendly when they have already qualified for the World Cup. 'Johnson has had a problem for 10-15 days. Our doctor is in contact with the England doctors so they know the situation. Common sense is something you have to use.' Benitez has reached an agreement with Spain coach Vicente del Bosque not to call up Fernando Torres. Capello, though, is likely to pick Gerrard and Johnson provisionally today for the game in Doha, Qatar, and would be reluctant to leave them out of the squad if they start against Birmingham, as it would infuriate other clubs with injured players. EXPECTED SQUAD - Goalkeepers: James, Green, Foster. Defenders: Johnson, Brown, Terry, Ferdinand, Lescott, Upson, Cahill, A Cole, Bridge. Midfielders: Barry, Beckham, Carrick, Lampard, Milner, Gerrard, Wright- Phillips. Forwards: Rooney, Heskey, Defoe, Crouch, Agbonlahor.  Sir Alex Ferguson: Chelsea's diamond is worthless as they don't have Kaka-type playerGARY LINEKER: Sorry Carlo, but I'd take Wayne Rooney over Didier Drogba any dayChelsea captain John Terry insists: We're back to our best and United are there for the taking  Explore more:People:Glen Johnson, Rafa Benitez, Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen, Wayne Rooney, FERNANDO TORRES, Fabio Capello, Jermain Defoe, Darren Bent, Gabriel AgbonlahorPlaces:Liverpool, Brazil, South Africa, Spain, France, United Kingdom, Qatar


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