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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 June 2006, 17:44 GMT 18:44 UK
Owen ruled out for several months
Michael Owen
Wednesday's scan confirmed the bad news for Owen
Michael Owen is out of the World Cup and back in England after rupturing his anterior cruciate knee ligament in the 2-2 draw with Sweden.

A scan on Wednesday confirmed the worst fears about Owen's injury following his dramatic collapse early in the match.

Owen touched down at Chester Airport at 1800 BST and was driven away by wife Louise in a Range Rover. He later hobbled into his house on crutches.

The striker said: "It's a massive blow. I knew straight away I was in trouble."

Coach Sven-Goran Eriksson told reporters: "I'm sorry for Michael. But we have many players who can take that second striker role."

We don't want any more injuries on strikers but I'm not worried

Sven-Goran Eriksson

Owen, who won his 80th cap against Sweden, said he would work with the Newcastle medical staff to start a recovery programme.

"I'm clearly sorry to be leaving the lads in Germany, but I'm convinced they can go on and achieve success. I'll be following all the matches very closely and giving them my full support, hopefully all the way to Berlin.

"My main objective is now to get fit as quickly as possible for Newcastle United."

Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd said: "We'll do everything we can to get Michael back as soon as possible.

"He is being sent back to Newcastle to pick up the pieces but I can't see him coming back within four or five months."

Eriksson continued: "Michael has had terrible luck with injuries since Christmas.

"I feel very sorry for him to miss out on the rest of the World Cup - it's a blow to him and a big loss for the team.

606 VIEW
Steel City Spurs

"However I am sure Michael will work very hard to get back as quickly as possible for Newcastle and England.

"He is a true professional and a very mentally strong person."

But Eriksson insisted his team were still capable of lifting the World Cup despite the loss of Owen.

"We have Theo Walcott, who we haven't seen yet, we have the players in the squad who can play second striker such as Joe Cole and Steven Gerrard and Aaron Lennon can do it too.

"I'm not that worried about it. We don't want any more injuries on strikers but I'm not worried."

After Owen suffered the injury, England goalkeeper Paul Robinson told BBC Sport: "Everyone's gutted for Michael.

Our man in the England camp

"It looks like we'll go through the rest of the tournament with Wayne Rooney and Peter Crouch and hopefully they'll do well."

England captain David Beckham added: "The players would like to win the World Cup for Michael. That's what we felt when we came off at half-time We wanted to finish the job for him and we have done the first part but it doesn't ease any pain for him.

"To lose Michael is devastating for all of us. In big competitions, including World Cups, you want proven goalscorers and great players in your team and he is one of those.

"But the good thing is we have players throughout the team who can score goals."

The bad injury caps a nightmare season for Owen, who returned to English football last summer in a 17m switch from Real Madrid to Newcastle.

He enjoyed a successful start to his Newcastle career, but broke his foot on New Year's Eve at Tottenham.

He battled back to play at the World Cup but looked less than fully fit and was substituted in both of England's opening games, without scoring.

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