Hodgson sidesteps Owen talk
England coach Roy Hodgson has cautioned against the idea he would be willing to bring Michael Owen back into the Three Lions squad. Owen has joined Stoke, claiming to be fully fit after numerous injury problems and eager to hit his best form again. Should he get anywhere close, there is bound to be a clamour for the 32-year-old to return to the international fold. At a time when England are hardly blessed with top goalscorers, it has never been forgotten Owen has scored an incredible 40 goals for his country, a number exceeded only by Sir Bobby Charlton, Gary Lineker and Jimmy Greaves. However, after Hodgson dismissed the claims of Peter Crouch, Owen's new team-mate at the Britannia Stadium, earlier this week, it does seem the former Liverpool forward has some convincing to do. "Before we start muddying the waters entirely by going back and talking about players who have been outstanding for England in the past, let's first of all make sure those players are playing extremely well, better than the ones I am selecting," said Hodgson. "There is no doubt that any player, whether it is Michael Owen or anyone else for that matter, who is on fire, scoring goals, and playing extremely well in the Premier League every week is going to come to my attention. "But there is no reason for me to discuss him (Owen) or Crouch, as people have tried to do, or anybody else. "In my time so far, I have had a largish squad of players. I have been working with them and they are trying very hard to play the type of football we want." It does seem Hodgson is moving on, with Wayne Rooney now leading a roster of strikers that also includes Manchester United team-mate Danny Welbeck, Chelsea's Daniel Sturridge and on-loan West Ham man Andy Carroll. Yet he insists he harbours no grudge towards Owen. "I can only wish Michael Owen well," he said. "I like Michael Owen. Like all football lovers, I admire what he has done in the past. He has had a wonderful career. "It is disappointing that he has not played as many games as he would like over the past few years. Now hopefully he is going to get the chance."
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