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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 August 2005, 17:37 GMT 18:37 UK
Beckham backs Owen for Real stay
Michael Owen
England captain David Beckham admits he wants Real Madrid team-mate Michael Owen to stay at the Bernabeu despite speculation linking him with a move.

The 25-year-old's future is in doubt after Real bought Robinho and Julio Baptista but Beckham is a big admirer.

"I'd like him to stay at Real because he's a good friend and one of the best strikers in world," said Beckham.

"He just wants to play but he's got a lot of world class players in his position - that's the tough part."

Owen will not start England's friendly in Denmark on Wednesday as Sven-Goran Eriksson wants to experiment with Wayne Rooney and Jermain Defoe in attack.

Eriksson wants to try the pair together as Owen is suspended for the World Cup qualifier with Wales on 3 September and Beckham says it is bad luck for the striker.

"Michael just wants to play. It's tough for him because he's not going to be starting," Beckham added.

"But even last season he was coming into international squads looking sharper than I've seen him for a long time - and that was without playing as many games as he played for Liverpool.

"I think he's in a very good state of mind - but I'm sure he would love to be playing more."

Meanwhile, French side Lyon are the latest club to have been linked with a move for Owen with funds from the 26m they are expected to receive from Chelsea for Michael Essien.

Lyon spokesman Bernard Lacombe said: "We are ambitious and there are a few players we are interested in."

Lyon boss Gerard Houllier, who managed Owen at Liverpool, added: "I get on well with Michael and I still have contact with him and his family."


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