Michael Owen is in the starting lineup for England’s B side against Albania at Burnley’s Turf Moor ground on Friday.
The Newcastle striker started the last three league games for Newcastle – but is still short of match practice after 10 months out of the game. Owen is keen to play in England’s Euro 2008 qualifier with Estonia on 6th June.
This seems eerily like last season when – following 5 months on the sidelines with a broken foot – Michael tried to come back for the World Cup. Then in the game against Sweden he suffered a terrible ACL knee injury – which deprived Newcastle of his services for all of last season – and Michael himself was laid up for another 10 months as he labored long and hard to get back to full fitness.
Manchester United forward Alan Smith will partner Owen in attack.
Michael Owen in buoyant mood
Owen, who refused to answer questions on speculation surrounding his future at St James’ Park, is not yet match fit – and quite honestly – as Newcastle fans – we hope he doesn’t overdo it again – just to get back to play for England – if he cannot get match fit before the Estonia game.
Certainly we feel his lack of match fitness contributed to his injury at the World Cup.
Hereâ€™s what Steve McClaren said about Owen yesterday to Sky Sports:
â€From a personal point of view, it’s terrific to have him back in the England squad and we’ve missed him for the year,” “There’s been many, many times he has been our savior and over the year we have missed that, so it’s great to have him back on the training field and fit. “From his point of view it’s a massive boost because it was a bad injury, but he has come through it, and shown great character and attitude.
“He looks sharp, he looks fit, he looks strong. Let’s not expect too much from him, let’s not put too much pressure on him because it was a bad injury. â€œ
â€œHe’ll need games, he needs training sessions and he’s getting them at the moment.”
Michael talked about his ACL knee injury and his rehabilitation:
“It only enters your mind if you have had an injury and you still feel something, or you are getting swelling in a certain area or if you pull a muscle, you are still feeling it tightening,” “That is when it enters your mind because it is sending a message from your body to your head saying you are still hurting.
“But, right from minute one, as soon as the swelling went down after my operation, I have sailed through rehab. Every time I have been asked to step it up and do the next thing, I have done it with no problems at all.
“It has never swollen up. Unless you looked at my knee and saw a few scars, I would not have thought I have had it because it has been textbook right the way through. “The only problem I had at the end was, unbeknown to most people, I was due to return quite a bit earlier than I did, but I had a small groin strain which kept me away.” “But it was still nice to play again at the end of the season and to be here again now.”
“Yes, I suppose it has. It has been frustrating. You never want to get injured, but it happens to most players in their career.” “I think I have coped fine with it. I have worked really hard to get back to where I am now and I feel stronger for it.”
We of course wish Michael all the best in the game on Friday.
McClaren, however must be realistic about Michael’s ability to play in the Estonia game, and if he is not 100% match fit – he shouldn’t play – unlike last time.