Monday, February 24, 2020

Owen facing uphill England battle

Michael Owen faces an uphill battle to get himself into Fabio Capello’s World Cup plans after England drew 2-2 with Holland on Wednesday.

The Manchester United striker, who was once again missing from Capello’s squad for the friendly in Amsterdam, is hoping for a place in the squad for South Africa but the performances of Carlton Cole and Jermain Defoe will only have reaffirmed to Capello that his current forwards are the best on offer.

Defoe climbed off the bench and scored twice to rescue England, while West Ham striker Cole’s performance was also one packed with quality.

Cole sent one volley whistling wide of the Dutch goal after a neat piece of ball control, while his hold-up play was faultless.

“I saw Carlton Cole for West Ham against Napoli and I chose him because I could see he was in fantastic form.

“I spoke with one of the other coaches about Defoe who said he was doing really well.

“Jermain is one of the best English forwards,” said Capello.

“He can shoot with the left and right foot. He is very fast and his movement without the ball is fantastic.

“He always goes towards the goal and technically, he is excellent.”

Certainly Defoe has done enough to seal his place so far, in what is expected to be a four-man strikeforce, and only a monumental loss of form this season would see him miss out.

And that can only be bad news for Owen.

Owen has been sharp in pre-season but he and Defoe are believed to be chasing just one place in Capello’s squad which will be named in May and at the moment there’s only one winner.

With Wayne Rooney assured of a place on the plane, it’s a safe football bet that Peter Crouch, Emile Heskey and Cole will be battling it out for the two other spots.


Phil Tomlinson



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