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Page last updated at 20:39 GMT, Tuesday, 31 March 2009 21:39 UK

Capello leaves door open for Owen

WORLD CUP QUALIFIER: England v Ukraine
Venue: Wembley Stadium Date: Wednesday, 1 April Kick-off: 2000 BST
Coverage: Full commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live and online, live text commentary on BBC Sport website & mobiles; Full commentary on BBC London 94.9, DAB & online; Live on ITV1

Michael Owen
Owen has scored 10 goals in 25 appearances for Newcastle this season

England manager Fabio Capello has insisted the door is open for Michael Owen to return to the England squad.

The Newcastle striker's recent injury problems meant he was again overlooked by the Italian for Wednesday's World Cup qualifier with Ukraine.

"If you look back, in every interview I have done, I have always said the door is open to every player. The same is true for him," said Capello.

"But I am focused on tomorrow's game, not players who are not here."

When asked at the weekend if Owen's record of 40 international goals would count in his favour when it came to replacing the injured Carlton Cole in the squad for Wednesday, Capello replied: "I have to choose players to play against the Ukraine, not against history."

This was interpreted by some as a direct snub to Owen and an indication that the 29-year-old does not figure in Capello's plans.


This was exacerbated when Darren Bent injured a knee in training on Tuesday and Capello opted to call-up Aston Villa's Gabriel Agbonlahor instead of Owen, despite the former's recent poor form, but Capello insists Owen remains in his thoughts.

"I chose Agbonlahor because he has played a lot of games. I respect Owen but I am focused on the game of football," said Capello.

Capello has given Owen just one cap so far during his reign, as a substitute in the 1-0 friendly defeat by France in Paris on 26 March, 2008.

Owen has had a succession of injuries since moving to Newcastle in 2005, the latest being ankle ligament damage which ruled him out for five games before he was dropped for last week's defeat at home to Arsenal.

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see also
Owen has England future - Lampard
30 Mar 09 |  Internationals
Pick your England XI
31 Aug 07 |  Internationals
England v Ukraine
31 Mar 09 |  Internationals
The rise and fall of Shevchenko
31 Mar 09 |  Internationals
Heskey pulls out of England squad
29 Mar 09 |  Internationals
England 4-0 Slovakia
28 Mar 09 |  Internationals
Saturday's football photos
28 Mar 09 |  Football
Owen poised for Newcastle return
11 Mar 09 |  Newcastle

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