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Last Updated: Monday, 26 March 2007, 12:43 GMT 13:43 UK
Newcastle warn England over Owen
Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd, England boss Steve McClaren
Shepherd (left) will put Newcastle ahead of McClaren's plans
Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd says striker Michael Owen will not be rushed back from injury to help England's Euro 2008 qualifying campaign.

Owen, 27, has targeted a return from cruciate ligament damage before the end of the season, putting him in line for England's game against Estonia in June.

But Shepherd told the Newcastle Chronicle: "He will return when it suits him and Newcastle, not England.

"If he's not fit for Newcastle this season, he won't be fit for England."

The importance of Owen to England has been highlighted by the goal drought suffered by Steve McClaren's side, who have scored only once in five international matches.

606: DEBATE
HL

Shepherd added: "I am an England fan and I want to watch them in the Euro 2008 finals.

"But let's stop this clamour for Michael returning to play for England before it gets up a head of steam.

"The player and Newcastle United come first and he will not be rushed back just so he can play for England in the summer."

Owen injured his knee playing for England in the 2006 World Cup in Germany and Shepherd has locked horns with Fifa over the level of compensation Newcastle should be awarded.



SEE ALSO
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Owen on track to play this season
23 Mar 07 |  Newcastle United
Fifa stands firm on Owen pay-out
28 Feb 07 |  Newcastle United
Comeback progress delights Owen
13 Feb 07 |  Newcastle United
Owen may miss rest of the season
02 Feb 07 |  Newcastle United


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