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Page last updated at 17:44 GMT, Friday, 5 September 2008 18:44 UK

Capello leaves door open for Owen

WORLD CUP 2010 QUALIFYING GROUP SIX
Andorra v England Venue: Olympic Stadium, Barcelona Date: Saturday, 6 September Kick-off: 1900 BST Coverage: Live on Setanta Sports 1 and BBC Radio 5 Live on AM, digital and via the BBC Sport website

Michael Owen
Owen has scored 40 goals in 89 England appearances

England coach Fabio Capello says Michael Owen has a future with England despite his omission from the squad for the first two World Cup qualifiers.

The Newcastle striker was not selected for Saturday's fixture against Andorra or Wednesday's against Croatia.

Capello said: "I decided he is not physically fit. But the door is still open for him to return."

Owen, 28, has struggled with injuries in recent seasons and missed the start of this season after contracting mumps.

Wayne Rooney and Jermain Defoe are expected to start up front in the absence of Owen, who has scored 40 goals in 89 appearances for England.

News conference: Fabio Capello

Capello added that his players are starting to absorb the Italian's ideas and that he believed his squad had developed since he took over from Steve McClaren earlier this year.

"I have seen a lot of improvement because the players understand what I want and at this moment I am confident in the players in the team for the next two games," Capello said.

"When we played against the Czech Republic the players were not completely fit but now they are better. This is only the first game and we have just start on the road for South Africa. We have many more games to play."

Skipper John Terry has asked fans for patience if England fail to impress.

"It's about the result for me, I'll take three points, whether it is 2-0, 3-0," Terry said. "Maybe the fans don't want to hear that. Hopefully it will be more than that, we are not going out there to win 1-0 or 2-0 that's for sure.

Rio absence a 'big blow' - Terry

"We want to get the ball rolling and go again. I've spoken before about the disappointment of not reaching the Euros and this is a fresh start.

"Not qualifying is still burning in a lot of the players. We all have another chance to come into the campaign and change things.

"After 20 minutes last time the fans did not get their goal and they went against us. Stick with us, it's a new campaign, it's a fresh start and we go again. We can't dwell on the past. We have to move forward and move forward together.

FOOTBALL BLOG
BBC Sport's Phil McNulty with the England team in Barcelona
"We need the fans' support, we realise they pay an awful lot of money for their tickets and travel - and it's about time we put on a performance and got the results for the fans and the whole nation."

Andorran head coach David Rodrigo insisted "all the pressure will be on England".

Rodrigo said: "We are not afraid of England although we have respect. But the superiority of England has to be shown out there on the pitch. They have to go and show they are superior."

Earlier, midfielder Gareth Barry poured scorn on the suggestion that England players are more motivated when playing for their club than for their country.

Writing in his autobiography, Jamie Carragher said that losing for England hurt less than losing with Liverpool.

But Aston Villa's Barry has dismissed the claims of the defender, who has retired from international duty.

"Any defeat hurts. There is a lot of pain when you are on the losing side. There is no difference," Barry said.

Carragher, who won 34 England caps but retired from international football last July having complained that he was frequently overlooked for selection, admitted that England were never top of his priorities.

In Carra, My Autobiography, the 30-year-old wrote: "Whenever I returned home from disappointing England experiences one unshakeable, overriding thought pushed itself to the forefront of my mind, no matter how much the rest of the nation mourned.

"'At least it wasn't Liverpool,' I'd repeat to myself, over and over.

It is time to deliver - Barry

"Defeats wearing an England shirt never hurt me in the same way as losing with my club. I wasn't caring or indifferent, I simply didn't put England's fortunes at the top of my priority list.

"Losing felt like a disappointment rather than a calamity."

However, Barry, 27, has insisted that players are committed to playing for England, though he conceded that now is the time to deliver on the big stage after failure to reach Euro 2008.

"I am a professional person. I play every game to win and give 100% and there will be no difference at all from losing a game for my club and losing a game for my country," he said.




see also
Pick your England XI
31 Aug 07 |  Internationals
Andorra v England
05 Sep 08 |  Internationals
Defoe feels weight of expectation
03 Sep 08 |  Internationals
Capello admits to Barry concerns
22 Aug 08 |  Internationals
Capello has concerns over England
02 Jun 08 |  Internationals
Liverpool deny rift about Barry
10 Aug 08 |  Liverpool
Carragher cool on England return
19 Dec 07 |  Internationals
Carragher ponders England future
09 Jul 07 |  Internationals


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