Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Football: MY FEARS FOR OWEN: BIG AL; Hy Hy Hy Hy

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Football: MY FEARS FOR OWEN: BIG AL; Hy Hy Hy Hy

Article excerpt

Byline: By LEE RYDER

ALAN SHEARER today admitted the Geordie nation can only grit their teeth and hope that Michael Owen comes through England's tough qualifier in Moscow on Wednesday night.

Owen emerged unscathed from England's 3-0 win over Estonia at Wembley on Saturday - but Ashley Cole's ankle problem highlights how international fortnight always churns out its injury victims.

And while Owen has declared his full fitness despite coming back from a groin operation in Germany a fortnight ago, Shearer feels that Sam Allardyce has every right to be concerned, especially with England facing Russia on a plastic pitch.

Indeed playing on a synthetic surface is certain to be a stiff test for Owen and the rest of his international colleagues and former England and Toon captain Shearer told the Chronicle: "I don't understand how at international level you can be asked to play on a plastic pitch, I really don't.

"But it's there and you have to play on it.

"It won't be great, but if we can come away with a point then I think that's a great result.

"Every manager will have a concern, not just Sam, whether the players are playing on a plastic pitch or not.

"They just want the players back on a Thursday morning so they can get ready for the weekend."

Owen was again linked with a move away from St James' Park today and over the weekend with Manchester City once more the club allegedly tracking the England striker.

Allardyce today dismissed talk of the a move away as "pure speculation" and Shearer underlined his close pal's commitment to the black and white shirt today when he said: "He's very happy here - he's come out and said it numerous times.

"He loves the area - his family's here and his kids are at school.

"He can't control what's been said, and he can't come out every week.

"He's happy, and shouldn't have to do that. …

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