Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Owen Will Return; United Boss Backing England Claims

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Owen Will Return; United Boss Backing England Claims

Article excerpt

Byline: LUKE EDWARDS

JOE Kinnear is adamant Michael Owen's will play for England again despite Fabio Capello's apparent reluctance to select the Newcastle United captain, writes LUKE EDWARDS.

Owen has been ignored by the national team's manager for the second time this season and the striker will be training on Tyneside when England face Kazakhstan at Wembley this afternoon.

Although Capello has insisted he has not given up on Owen as an international centre-forward, the Italian is believed to have serious reservations about Owen's ability to contribute enough to the team to warrant a place.

The Italian appears to prefer Portsmouth's Jermain Defoe to Owen, with Peter Crouch, Emile Heskey and Wayne Rooney the other forwards in the squad for today's game and Wednesday's trip to Belarus.

Kinnear, though, is confident his star player will not only play for England again, he will also go on to become his country's record goalscorer as he argued his threat in front of goal would eventually make it impossible for Capello to ignore him.

"Michael Owen will play for England again, I'm sure about that," said Kinnear.

"He's the fourth best goalscorer in England, I don't just mean now, I mean ever.

He's only behind the likes of Sir Bobby Charlton, Gary Lineker and Jimmy Greaves in the all time list.

"I think the England manager just wants to try a few new things out, but Michael will be in his thoughts, I'm confident about that. He is impossible to ignore because he will always score goals, it's as simple as that."

Owen has been hurt by his fall from grace at international level, but Kinnear has also praised his attitude since he was told of Capello's decision to ignore him for the latest round of international qualifiers.

Owen has scored five goals in eight games for the Magpies this season, but even that was not enough to persuade Capello to include him in his plans.

Kinnear added: "Michael will just get on with it and he will continue to focus on his Newcastle career because he is that type of person. He's been into training this week and he has been fine.

"He is a model professional and I've thoroughly enjoyed working with him already. …

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