Steve McClaren says he has been very impressed with Michael Owen in training and thinks he has looked very sharp.
Michael of course played the last 16 minutes for Newcastle against Everton on Sunday, and even bagged a goal that was more difficult than it looked. That was just 8 days after his hernia surgery in Germany, and if he can prove his fitness during England’s training, he will play in both the upcoming Estonia and Russia games.
Steve McClaren – if Michael is fit he will participate in both games
McClaren talked to Sky Sports yesterday, and this is what he had to say when asked about whether he was impressed with Michaelâ€™s fitness:
“Yes I was, he was very sharp. All the players did considering they had played but I very impressed with him.”
McClaren then said that he was in almost daily contact with Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce about Owenâ€™s condition. Sam is worried about Michael playing two games in four days so soon after his operation. Allardyce has every right to be concerned, because Owen has had a terrible injury record over the last 2 years at Newcastle, and Sam is trying to improve it. We don’t think that’s too surprising and we also understand why Steve wants Michael playing for England, because he is a match-winner. What we cannot overlook is what’s best for Michael and that’s what Steve and Sam are discussing on a regular basis.
McClaren rejected the idea that he and Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce had any conflict on whether Owen played. Steve said that Michael would play if fit as he continued.
“People talk of a conflict between Newcastle, Michael and ourselves and there is nothing further from the truth,” he said.
“We liaise with the club, the medical people, we liaise with (manager) Sam (Allardyce), and we liaise with the player. No risk will be taken but Michael is a very important player to us and if Michael is fit, Michael will play.”
This has been in the news a lot – probably because there’s not much else going on. If Michael can play, that’s OK, just as long as he doesn’t get injured, which is the nightmare scenario for Newcastle. As a Newcastle fan, that would just be too hard to take.