Injury may force Owen out of squad

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The Independent Football

Sven Goran Eriksson may have 22 players with him on the plane to Turkey this afternoon but the most important member of his squad will probably be absent. It is, ironically in view of yesterday's events, his leading striker. Michael Owen may be forced to return to Liverpool today as his injured leg has not responded to treatment.

Owen, who suffered a tear in the membrane between his tibia and fibula while playing against Arsenal on Saturday, had not missed an international since February 2002. With 16 goals he is England's leading scorer under Eriksson, and England have not won a match without him since Alan Shearer retired. In his absence Eriksson is likely to pair Wayne Rooney and Emile Heskey, although he could push Paul Scholes forward and adopt a 4-4-1-1 formation.

Turkey's talismanic striker, Hakan Sukur, has recovered full fitness. He suffered a knee injury at the weekend and was originally as doubtful as Owen.

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