Football

Capello: Door remains open for Owen

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England manager Fabio Capello has insisted the door to the international side remains open for Newcastle striker Michael Owen.

Former Liverpool and Real Madrid forward Owen has returned to form and fitness this season after three injury-ravaged years, but has been consistently overlooked by Capello.

"I know he played very well and scored a goal. I always said the door of the national team is open for all the players," Capello said on Monday.

Owen has hit three goals in his last two games and nine so far this season, although Capello did not see the 29-year-old's latest goal against Portsmouth on Sunday due to a holiday.

When asked about Owen's form, Capello said: "I don't know, I just arrived this morning and read the newspaper. I will check him in January and after that I will decide if he is ready, if he is OK for the next squad."

Owen is England's fourth-highest goalscorer but Capello insists he must be convinced of his fitness before selecting him again.

The Italian added: "It is important, I have to choose depending on my idea of the team.

"The most important thing is that he will be fit. The last three times he was not fit."

Capello is coming up to the first anniversary of his arrival in the job and is pleased with how he has lifted morale following the failure of previous boss Steve McClaren to qualify for Euro 2008.

He added: "The spirit of the squad, this is most important. Sometimes you can win one game because one player scores, but without the spirit it is not possible."

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Topics:
Portsmouth
Internationals
Football
Michael Owen
Liverpool

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