Friday, October 12, 2007

Stomach upset

"I will bust a gut to play in any game, for Newcastle and England." Not the best choice of words there from Michael Owen, seeking to dispel rumours he's only rushed back to action after stomach surgery so he can feature for England in the forthcoming European Championship qualifiers against Estonia and Russia.

I don't want to add to any mischief being made, but there are definitely hints of a rift, or at least a tension, between Owen and Fat Sam. The latter, in urging caution, has effectively been casting doubts on the fact that Owen is fully fit, while the player is insisting the only opinion he's interested in is that of the surgeon. If he emerges from the international fixtures unscathed, and it certainly looks as though he'll have a big part to play, then we'll be able to lay the issue to rest for a while - but if not, it could really blow up. On the one hand, it won't be Owen's fault if he plays on the advice of the surgeon and picks up another injury, but on the other both the club and the fans are understandably keen to see a greater return on what has been a significant investment and another injury would go down like a particularly heavy lead balloon.


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