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Owen can fire England - Fergie

08 Aug 2009 11:54:26

Owen can fire England - Fergie

SIR Alex Ferguson has backed Michael Owen to fire his way into Fabio Capello's World Cup plans. Fergie is convinced the England striker can return to his best after joining United on a free transfer this summer. Owen remains in international exile, having won the last of his 89 caps in March 2008. Capello watched him miss a host of chances in United's 2-0 win against Valencia on Wednesday - but Fergie insists the 29-year-old will prove an inspirational signing and force his way back into the England squad. "England are not endowed with a bunch of top strikers," said the United manager. "The only consistent one over the last few years has been Wayne Rooney. "They've tried Emile Heskey, Peter Crouch - they've even tried Theo Walcott. They included him in the World Cup at 17 and I still cannot understand it. There is a dearth of really top strikers in the country so that gives Michael Owen a chance." Owen should play some part of tomorrow's Community Shield showdown with Chelsea, but he is likely to start the season as understudy to United's first-choice strike force of Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov. Still Fergie insists the former Liverpool and Real Madrid striker will have plenty of opportunities to stake his claim for South Africa next summer. Reputation "He's operated really well so far, he's shown some clever stuff and I've been really pleased with him," he said. "It's only through his performances here that Fabio can look at him. "His name and his reputation of the past will not get him into the World Cup squad. It's what he does in the next season that will hopefully get him into it. "Fabio has got to pick the best players and he's not going to pick a player on his reputation of eight years ago." DON'T MISS OUR 16-PAGE PRE-SEASON GIUDE IN MONDAY'S MEN


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