Monday, September 01, 2008

An unwanted man - by some

Michael Owen's omission from the England squad announced yesterday has raised more than a few eyebrows - not least because Fabio Capello's opted for just four strikers, one of whom (Theo Walcott) plays his club football on the wing.

OK, so he's not fully fit, and his cause can't have been helped by the performance Capello witnessed in person on Saturday, when he was off the pace and dropped too deep and too wide (although given no assistance whatsoever by Shola Ameobi), but he could easily do for England what he's already done for us twice this season - come off the bench to score a vital goal. The game against Andorra should be a romp (I stress the word "should" - it'll probably be a dreadfully dull 1-0...), but it's the match with Croatia when his instinct for goal could have proven key. We'll see how things pan out, but it could be a decision the Italian comes to regret.

Of course, from a Newcastle perspective, it's probably to be welcomed - OK, so he won't get more opportunity to improve his match fitness, but equally there won't be any danger of him picking up a fresh knock - and so, given his track record with England since joining the club, I think most of us are quite glad he's nowhere near a white shirt.

Unlike Capello, one man who very much does want Little Saint Mick in his squad is Kevin Keegan, who has helped push for the new contract now on the table. The pay increase is bound to be attractive, but I wonder if he won't be looking for a deal lasting longer than just three years?


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