Capello likely to leave Owen in international wilderness

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The Independent Online

England's friendly against the Netherlands on Wednesday looks like it has come too early for Michael Owen who is set to be left in the international wilderness again as Fabio Capello opts to stick with much the same squad as he picked in June.

The England manager was at Old Trafford on Wednesday to see Owen fail to take his chances for Manchester United against Valencia. The England manager is understood to have been impressed with the fitness levels of the 29-year-old but is still some way off being convinced that he deserves his first England call-up in 18 months.

Instead Capello is looking at keeping the same strikers he picked against Kazakhstan and Andorra: Wayne Rooney, Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch, Emile Heskey and possibly Carlton Cole. Nothing is certain until the squad is announced tomorrow but if Owen is to make an England comeback then it is more likely to be in the friendly against Slovenia on 5 September.

Capello has been assured that Owen Hargreaves, who has not played a game for England since the friendly against America in May 2008, will be fit again by November, possibly in time for a proposed friendly against Brazil in Qatar. As well as Hargreaves, Capello will also not consider Joe Cole, Wes Brown and Gary Neville who are all still injured. Phil Jagielka and Stewart Downing are also long-term injured.

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