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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 August 2007, 14:04 GMT 15:04 UK
Owen gives England fitness boost
England and Newcastle striker Michael Owen
Owen enjoyed a one-hour run-out in Monday's friendly
Newcastle striker Michael Owen has given England a huge boost by declaring himself fit following a thigh injury.

He is set to return to league action on Saturday and be available for England's Euro 2008 qualifiers in September.

The 27-year-old's recovery is a relief for England boss Steve McClaren, who has been rocked by the news that Wayne Rooney faces a two-month lay-off.

Former manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has warned: "England have other quality players but you have only one Rooney."

Manchester United striker Rooney broke a bone in his foot in Sunday's 0-0 draw with Reading - a similar injury to the one he suffered before the 2006 World Cup when Eriksson was England boss.

"I feel very sorry for Rooney," said Manchester City boss Eriksson.

Rooney is certain to miss England's friendly against Germany on 22 August as well as the crucial Euro 2008 qualifiers against Israel on 8 September and Russia four days later.

McClaren will name his squad for the Germany game on Friday and Owen could now be included.


The striker played for an hour in a club friendly on Monday and afterwards said he would be available for Saturday's game against Aston Villa.

After missing most of last season with a knee injury, Owen's bad luck appeared to be continuing when he missed most of Newcastle's pre-season games with a thigh problem.

But he said: "I probably could have played against Bolton on Saturday but if I'd felt it again, it would have been a month out and after last season I didn't want to do that.

"I was confident I would be fine. It had me out for a couple of weeks but I've trained for the last four or five days.

"It's a little frustrating to have missed some of the pre-season games but I've been able to do all the running work."

Meanwhile, West Ham striker Dean Aston is hoping McClaren will look to him to fill the gap left by Rooney in the squad.

Ashton joined West Ham in January 2006 for 7.25m from Norwich but made only nine starts before he broke his ankle when training with England in the August of the same year.

I want to be the main striker for England. That's my goal

West Ham forward Dean Ashton

He told the Daily Mirror: "One of my targets is to get back where I was in the England squad and making a start for my country is a massive dream of mine, especially after the year I have had.

"I want to be the main striker for England. That's my goal. The plan is to play well for West Ham, score goals and put it into Steve McClaren's mind that I am there and hopefully playing well enough to give him a hard decision. Then hopefully I will get a call."

However, Everton manager David Moyes believes Goodison Park hitman Andy Johnson could be the answer for England.

Moyes told The Sun: "If Andy gets called up this week it might be a real chance for him.

"His game has improved a lot in the 12 months he has been with us. Andy works very hard for the team, with his awareness and involvement in build-ups."

Portsmouth striker David Nugent is another option and he added: "I've been in the England squad before and I want to be there again."

Pick your England XI
14 Aug 07 |  Internationals
McClaren faces injury crisis
13 Aug 07 |  Internationals
Rooney to miss England qualifiers
13 Aug 07 |  Internationals
Owen set to miss Newcastle opener
04 Aug 07 |  Newcastle United
Owen owes Magpies, says Shepherd
29 Jul 07 |  Newcastle United
Owen sidelined for Newcastle win
29 Jul 07 |  Newcastle United
Owen picks up minor thigh injury
20 Jul 07 |  Newcastle United
Solano linked to West Ham switch
14 Aug 07 |  Newcastle United


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