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Michael Owen
"I'm feeling fine"
 real 28k

Thursday, 8 June, 2000, 17:04 GMT 18:04 UK
Keegan hints at Wise choice
Kevin Keegan
Kevin Keegan is hinting at a cautious approach
England coach Kevin Keegan says he will be trying to strike a balance when naming the side that faces Portugal on Monday.

With Keegan certain to name a 4-4-2 formation, the indication is that the more conservative talents of Dennis Wise will be preferred to those of Steve McManaman on the left of midfield.

Keegan admits that it is a game he is aiming to win, but not at all costs.

"If you win your first game of tournament, it sets it up. That's easier said than done but we've got to go for the win," said the former Newcastle and Fulham manager.



It's a fine balance - you must not give yourself no chance after your first game.

England coach Kevin Keegan
"But that doesn't mean to say you risk everything. It is a fine balance. You must not give yourself no chance after your first game.

"I like to think though in every game I have managed - believe it or not with some of the performances we've put in - I have been going to win."

Serious work

Keegan must first establish the state of the squad's intended training pitch at their base camp in Spa, however, amid reports that heavy rain over the past two weeks - unsurprising conditions in that area - could soon render the surface virtually unplayable.


Dennis Wise
Dennis Wise: Could be a surprise selection
The Football Association has invested time and effort in ensuring that the pitch at the Olympic-accredited Centre Sportif de la Fraineuse is to their desired specifications.

However, Alain Logen, a coach at the centre, told the Evening Standard: "The pitch has been prepared for them but I'm not sure it will be what they expected.

Unplayable

"The weather conditions we have had for the past two weeks will make it very muddy. When they turn up, it will look like it is possible for them to train on it but after one or two sessions, it may well be unplayable.

"If I was Kevin Keegan, I would use the other one we have here."

Meanwhile, young striker Michael Owen said that leaving England this time reminded him very much of France 98.

"It's the same kind of feeling as the World Cup. Hopefully when we come back there will be more people cheering a winning side," said the 20-year-old, who was one of the sensations of the last World Cup.

"It's been a long build-up. We've had our plusses and minuses and we just want to get cracking now.

"A lot can happen but I'm hopeful of playing."

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See also:

06 Jun 00 | England
Keegan sure of starting line-up
08 Jun 00 | England
England wait on Shearer scan
08 Jun 00 | England
Southgate wants to quit Villa
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