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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 February 2008, 23:36 GMT
Capello offers Owen England hope
Michael Owen and Fabio Capello
I know Michael very well and I'm interested in seeing as many players as I can

Capello on Owen
England boss Fabio Capello insists his decision not to use Michael Owen in his first match does not signal the end of the striker's international career.

Capello kept Owen on the bench in England's 2-1 win over Switzerland at Wembley, but he said: "It's not because I like or dislike people.

"It was nothing personal. I know he's a big player and he just needs to carry on doing what he has done so far.

"If he's here it means he's part of my plans like everyone else I picked."

Owen has been virtually an automatic choice for successive England managers for the last 10 years, but even when Capello opted to employ a second striker in the second half, he turned to Liverpool frontman Peter Crouch instead.

But Capello hinted he was just keen to assess players that was unfamiliar with, saying: "I know Michael very well and I'm interested in seeing as many players as I can."

Meanwhile, the team's general manager Franco Baldini claimed England players need to improve their technique if they are to be a success at international level.

"We are trying to play more with the ball because the English culture is after two, three passes to hit a long ball," he said.

Golden Geordie

"We have to try to play more. We need more technical skill. We have to practise, practise, practise.

"Also, many times we think about why some players are so important for their club - not just domestically but in European competition too - but they are less effective for England.

"What we have to work out is why that is. Maybe with their clubs, they play with less pressure than they play with for England.

"We know they want to play and perform but it's a problem we want to address. This week has been very important for us so we can see things at first hand."

England's next match under Capello in France on 26 March, with their first competitive fixture not until September - a World Cup qualifier against Andorra.

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