Beckham and Owen to miss first tour game

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The Independent Football

Sven Goran Eriksson is resigned to being without his captain, David Beckham, and Michael Owen for England's opening tour match in the United States.

Sven Goran Eriksson is resigned to being without his captain, David Beckham, and Michael Owen for England's opening tour match in the United States.

Beckham and Owen are almost certain not to be freed by Real Madrid to play against the US in Chicago on 28 May.

It is a surprise move given that Real's final league game against Real Zaragoza is a meaningless fixture as they cannot overhaul champions Barcelona and are also guaranteed the runner's-up spot.

The Football Association had been considering making an official representation to Madrid but it is now not attempting to go down that route as the feedback from Real is they want the duo to complete their club commitments. Instead, Beckham and Owen will fly out to America on Monday week for the final game of the tour against Colombia in New Jersey on 31 May.

Owen's absence - along with Wayne Rooney - will increase the chances of Peter Crouch winning his first England cap and Andrew Johnson making his first start for his country against the United States.

Owen will have to delay his bid by 72 hours to attempt to move level on 30 goals with Alan Shearer as England's fourth-highest scorer in history.

The former Liverpool striker is currently one goal shy of that milestone after finding the net 29 times in 69 appearances for his country.

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