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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 January 2006, 20:28 GMT
Owen fears World Cup distraction
England and Newcastle striker Michael Owen
Owen is currently sidelined with a broken bone in his foot
Michael Owen believes England's World Cup chances might be affected by the interest surrounding who Sven-Goran Eriksson's successor will be.

The Swede will leave the post after the tournament and blamed the media as part of the reason for his exit.

"If the press want to write about it every day and talk about other managers it might start annoying a few of the players," he told BBC Five Live.

The England striker added: "We want to concentrate on the World Cup."

Eriksson was the subject of an undercover 'sting' by the News of the World newspaper, whose 'fake Sheikh' Mazher Mahmood conducted a covert interview while impersonating a rich Arab .

The controversy resulted in the England coach and the FA agreeing that Eriksson would leave his post after this summer's tournament in Germany.

I think that everyone would want the manager to be the best man for the job
Michael Owen

Newcastle forward Owen added: "We've not got to be affected as players because we have got a World Cup to participate in and 60-odd million people in our country that we have got to go and represent.

"There are many, many reasons to concentrate solely on the World Cup and that tournament rather than what is going to happen afterwards.

"It's more important to talk about what the manager and players are going to do at the World Cup as opposed to what's going to happen afterwards.

"It's 10 times more important what happens during the tournament that what happens afterwards."

Eriksson was reported as making remarks about several players, including Owen and citing money was the reason for his move to Newcastle during the summer.

"What has been said has been said and been resolved," said Owen.

"I'm sure the manager is happy he is taking a very good squad to the World Cup and is in no doubt as to what is happening afterwards and neither are the FA so we can all concentrate on one thing and that is the tournament."

There has already been speculation about who will take over from Eriksson and whether the next England manager should be English.

Owen added: "I think that everyone would want the manager to be the best man for the job and if he is English then that will be double satisfaction because that would be great.

"We are a big football nation so we have got some top managers.

"If we have to go down the foreign route then as long as it's the best man I'm sure every England fan would be happy."




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Interview: England striker Michael Owen



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