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Owen out of England football friendlies (SN)

SoccerNews in English Premier League 23 May 2008


Michael Owen is set to miss England’s upcoming friendlies against the United States and Trinidad and Tobago.

The Newcastle striker was unable to join up with Fabio Capello’s squad on Friday after going down with a virus and will miss Wednesday’s match against the United States at Wembley as well as the trip to Trinidad for the second match, on Sunday, June 1.

Tottenham midfielder Jermaine Jenas will also miss the matches, because of an ankle injury.

Players from Chelsea and Manchester United, who played in the Champions League final in Moscow on Wednesday, were not due to report until Saturday while David Beckham was due to join the squad Sunday after playing for his MLS club, Los Angeles Galaxy, against Kansas City on Saturday.

Owen’s absence could give Arsenal youngster Theo Walcott, West Ham’s Dean Ashton, Aston Villa’s Gabriel Agbonlahor and Portsmouth’s Jermain Defoe a chance to catch the eye of head coach Fabio Capello.

The Italian, who has yet to give Owen an England start, also has Liverpool’s Peter Crouch and Wayne Rooney at his disposal.

The two upcoming matches will enable Capello to fine tune his preparations for England’s qualifying campaign for the 2010 World Cup, which begins with an away fixture against Andorra on September 6.

Prior to that, England will play a friendly against the Czech Republic at Wembley on August 20, by which time Capello will have decided on a captain for the bid to reach the 2010 finals in South Africa.

Steven Gerrard captained the side for Capello’s first match in charge, a 2-1 win over Switzerland, while Rio Ferdinand took the armband for England’s last match, a 1-0 friendly defeat by France in Paris at the end of March.

John Terry, the captain under Capello’s predecessor Steve McClaren, is also a candidate for the role and will be hoping to be given the chance to display his leadership credentials against the United States on Wednesday.


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