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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 May 2007, 15:47 GMT 16:47 UK
Owen included in England B squad
England and Newcastle striker Michael Owen
Owen is aiming to build up his match fitness and sharpness
Michael Owen has been included in the England B squad to play Albania at Burnley's Turf Moor ground on 25 May.

Newcastle striker Owen, 27, has played just two games after suffering knee ligament damage against Sweden at the 2006 World Cup last summer.

England coach Steve McClaren told the Football Association's website that Owen's return was a "massive boost".

"Any side at international level would miss a player with Michael's goalscoring pedigree," he said.

606: DEBATE
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"I know the rest of the squad will be delighted to have Michael back as he is a proven top-class international goalscorer.

"He has done well to get back to fitness with Newcastle and I am sure the crowd will be excited about seeing him back in an England shirt at Burnley.

"I am excited about the prospect of being able to pick him and this will be great preparation for the games with Brazil and Estonia."

McClaren has also included five players who have yet to make their senior national team debut.

The players in question are Michael Dawson, Joleon Lescott, Nicky Shorey, David Bentley and Phil Jagielka.

The only Manchester United player in the squad is striker Alan Smith while there are no players from Arsenal, Chelsea or Liverpool in the squad.

Bolton duo Kevin Nolan and Kevin Davies had been touted for call-ups but have missed out in what will be a blow to their hopes of gaining international recognition.

Manchester City midfielder Joey Barton, who made his England debut against Spain in January, has been suspended by his club and has been left out.

But it will be Owen's return which will be McClaren's main concern.

England will be without the suspended Wayne Rooney and injured Andy Johnson in attack for the Euro 2008 qualifier against Estonia on 6 June and Owen's return would be a major boost.

The forward returned in the Magpies defeat at Reading when he played the full 90 minutes before again completing a full match in their loss to Blackburn.

Owen is set to play at Watford on the final day of the Premiership this season on Sunday as he builds up his match fitness.

The England B international will also give him that chance as well as the friendly at Wembley against Brazil on 1 June before the Estonia game.


Goalkeepers: Paul Robinson (Tottenham), Ben Foster (Manchester United, on loan at Watford)

Defenders: Phil Neville (Everton), Joleon Lescott (Everton), Michael Dawson (Tottenham), Ledley King (Tottenham), Gareth Barry (Aston Villa), Nicky Shorey (Reading)

Midfielders: Owen Hargreaves (Bayern Munich), Phil Jagielka (Sheffield United), Aaron Lennon (Tottenham), Kieron Dyer (Newcastle), Scott Parker (Newcastle), Jermaine Jenas (Tottenham), Stewart Downing (Middlesbrough), David Bentley (Blackburn)

Forwards: Michael Owen (Newcastle), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham), Alan Smith (Manchester United), David Nugent (Preston)



SEE ALSO
Shepherd tells Owen to stay loyal
10 May 07 |  Newcastle United
Newcastle comeback delights Owen
01 May 07 |  Newcastle United


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