Ferguson says Owen may struggle to stake World Cup bid
Owen replaces Rooney in the 76th minute of the match against Wolves
Sir Alex Ferguson admits his reluctance to leave out Wayne Rooney may make it difficult for Michael Owen to play enough to stake a World Cup claim.
Owen has appeared in 14 of United's 20 league games so far but started only four and last played a full top-flight match against Everton on 21 November.
"We'll try and get him to the World Cup as best we can. But it is difficult when you have a squad of our size.
"It is difficult to leave Rooney out of your team," said the United manager.
"That's the thing, I think he's identical to Wayne in the position he plays, which is further up the pitch with Dimitar Berbatov in your team.
"The combinations are more likely to be Berbatov and Owen or Berbatov and Rooney.
"With Rooney and Owen together you would have to drop Rooney in the hole and I prefer to play him further up the pitch."
Rooney is joint-top of the Premier League scoring charts with 14 goals and has turned in man-of-the-match performances against Hull and Wigan in United's last two matches while Owen has been an unused substitute.
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