Michael Owen has sought the advice of Manchester United team-mate Wayne Rooney as he seeks to break into Fabio Capello's England squad for this summer's World Cup finals.
Owen has scored 40 times in 89 England appearances - the last of which came in March 2008 in his only England game under Capello - but has conceded he is no longer the same player as the one who scored that memorable solo goal against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup quarter-finals. The 30-year-old has spoken with Rooney about what the Italian expects as he seeks to join his United colleague in the squad for South Africa.
"I've watched all the games. I know what the manager is looking for, even though I'm not there listening," Owen told The Guardian.
"For example, I ask Wayne, 'What does he expect when you've not got the ball?'
"So I have to stay in with it without thinking I'm part of it, because I'm not."
When Owen was first overlooked by Capello, he felt "numb" - "It was really disappointing, upsetting" - but the former Liverpool, Real Madrid and Newcastle striker, who has been beset by injuries, admits he has now had to change the way he plays.
He added: "I was proper, proper fast at one point, and obviously I'm not now, so I've lost certain things, but when I was that fast I didn't need to do certain other things in a game.
"It was such a potent weapon. I was in the team to threaten in behind, to get the ball and run at players.
"But when I started losing that I had to find other ways to scare defenders. And that's how your game evolves.
"I'm much better now at timing the run and picking the moment and being able to spot something develop. I'd say my runs are more thought-out now."
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