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Scottish Mag

I don't want Owen playing for England B, insists Roeder

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Newcastle boss Glenn Roeder would be unhappy if England boss Steve McClaren asked £17million striker Michael Owen to play in a B international later this month.


There have been suggestions the 27-year-old frontman, who returned from a 10-month injury lay off in the 1-0 Barclays Premiership defeat at Reading on Monday evening, could line up for England B against Albania at Burnley on Friday, May 25.


However, Roeder, who has had to do without his main striker all season after he ruptured his cruciate ligament at the World Cup finals last summer, does not want him to play at Turf Moor.


He said: "I would be very surprised. It would be a little bit like the reason I did not play Michael Owen in a reserve game - he did not need to play in a reserve game before playing for the first-team.


"Does Michael Owen need to play for England B before he puts on the England shirt again? I would say no.


"That would not be my decision, but I would be surprised and I would not want him to play an England B game.


"I do not think it is necessary for him to have to play in the B game, personally. Training sessions will be more than enough."


The Magpies are still engaged in a fight for compensation for Owen's medical bills from the FA, whose insurers paid half of his £103,000-a-week wages during his enforced lay-off.


Chairman Freddy Shepherd indicated at one point he might consider refusing to release the player for international duty, although FIFA rules mean that is an unlikely course of action.


Owen is in line to make his first appearance of the season at St James' Park tomorrow in the Premiership clash with Blackburn, and Roeder is thrilled to have him at his disposal once again after his long-awaited return at the Madejski Stadium.


He said: "It was bitter-sweet for Michael. Michael is a winner, so losing, he felt it badly like the rest of the players.


"But on a personal level, we both felt 65, 70 minutes, we could not have asked for any more. But for him to get through 95 minutes of football and feel great afterwards - and even better since - is an added bonus.


"But the reason I believe he lasted 95 minutes was the quality of his rehab. He has got that strength in his body to be able to handle 95 minutes."

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