Owen no closer to England recall despite friendly fire

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Michael Owen's prospects of an England recall for next week's friendly against the Netherlands still look remote despite his four goals on Manchester United's tour of south-east Asia last month.

The 29-year-old will be watched by one member of the Fabio Capello team in United's game against Valencia tomorrow but the general consensus within the Capello camp is that friendly match goals against inferior opposition do not constitute the basis for a recall. Owen's chief rival for a spot as Wayne Rooney's understudy, Jermain Defoe, has also looked impressive in pre-season.

Capello will announce his squad on Saturday for the game that takes place in Amsterdam a week on Wednesday. The performance of Jack Wilshere, Arsenal's 17-year-old midfield prodigy, was duly noted by Capello who watched him score twice against Rangers on Sunday, but the target for the teenager for the time being will be a place in Stuart Pearce's Under-21s.

Capello will spend this week looking at the fitness reports of his players collated by the England team doctor Ian Beasley and physiotherapist Gary Lewin. After missing around seven players through injury and a further two who withdrew from the last squad to play Kazakhstan and Andorra in June, Capello hopes to have one of the widest choices available since he took the job.

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