McClaren: Owen absence no excuse to fail

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Football News
Steve McClaren added star striker Michael Owen to an unhappy list of injuries following Friday night´s 1-0 friendly win over Austria, then vowed not to use absent friends as an excuse if England fail to reach Euro 2008.

Owen limped out of the clash with a thigh injury and McClaren knows his top scorer will not be fit for the potentially pivotal qualifier with Croatia on Wednesday, when victory will be essential should Israel resist Russia in Tel Aviv on Saturday.

"Injuries are part of football," he reflected. "We have certainly had our fair share and not to have your best players available is not how you would choose to go into what I still believe will be the crunch game. But I am not making excuses."

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