Owen overlooked again by England

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Michael Owen has once again been overlooked by Fabio Capello for next month's World Cup qualifier with Croatia.

There were some who suggested Owen's summer move to Manchester United would offer an instant way back into the Three Lions fold.

However, even though the 29-year-old scored his first competitive goal for the Red Devils in last week's hammering of Wigan, Fabio Capello has overlooked England's fourth-highest goalscorer for the Croatia game - where victory will confirm their presence in South Africa - and the friendly with Slovenia which precedes it on September 5.

In fairness, Owen probably did not expect to get picked anyway, given he is in direct competition with Jermain Defoe, a player who has scored goals for club and country already this term and has been a pivotal figure in Tottenham's superb start to the season.

Indeed, Capello's squads are now starting to take on a familiar look. Even the inclusion of Ben Foster, who showed his best and worst sides against Arsenal on Saturday, only confirms a position he held in the squad for last month's friendly draw in Holland until the 26-year-old pulled out with a knee injury.

The absence of Rio Ferdinand with a thigh strain has provided Wes Brown with a surprise return to international duty.

The experienced defender performed creditably in central defence as United overcame Arsenal at Old Trafford yesterday and Capello knows he also provides cover for Glen Johnson at right-back.

Steven Gerrard was an automatic choice to return, while Aaron Lennon was always the number one choice to take over from Theo Walcott, who has not played this season due to a back injury Arsene Wenger believes is a direct result of his young star playing for both England's senior side and the under-21s last summer.

The other addition is Peter Crouch, who appeared to have been leapfrogged in the England pecking order by Carlton Cole, but is now back among Capello's chosen few having begun to establish himself at Tottenham after a summer move from Portsmouth.

Squad: Foster (Manchester United), Green (West Ham), Robinson (Blackburn), Johnson (Liverpool), Brown (Manchester United), Upson (West Ham), Terry (Chelsea, capt), Lescott (Manchester City), A Cole (Chelsea), Bridge (Chelsea), Wright-Phillips (Manchester City), Lennon (Tottenham), Beckham (Los Angeles Galaxy), Barry (Manchester City), Lampard (Chelsea), Carrick (Manchester United), Gerrard (Liverpool), A Young (Aston Villa), Milner (Aston Villa), Rooney (Manchester United), Heskey (Aston Villa), Defoe (Tottenham), C Cole (West Ham), Crouch (Tottenham).

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Tottenham Hotspur
Carlton Cole
Ben Foster
Aaron Lennon
Manchester City
Blackburn Rovers
Wes Brown
Glen Johnson
Michael Owen
Premier League
Peter Crouch
Manchester United
Jermain Defoe
Steven Gerrard
Wigan Athletic
Aston Villa
Theo Walcott
Rio Ferdinand

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