Michael Owen's dream of representing England in South Africa this summer appears over after he was ruled out for the rest of the season with a hamstring injury.
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson today confirmed the striker would miss the rest of the campaign after suffering the injury in the Carling Cup final victory over Aston Villa last Sunday.
Owen, who scored in the Wembley final, had admitted before the injury that he was a "long shot" to make Fabio Capello's World Cup squad.
"It's a bad blow - he's out for the season," Ferguson said.
"Unfortunately it's more serious than we thought. He will be operated on on Monday morning.
"It's a terrible blow for the lad and is disappointing news for us too.
"He has never missed a training session all season.
"I think the heavy pitch at Wembley on Sunday made some contribution to it but really it is just bad luck."
Although Owen did not mention the World Cup, he is now looking forward to the start of next season.
"Unfortunately the specialist says I will miss the end of the season," said Owen.
"I have loved every minute of my first campaign with Manchester United and have already enjoyed some memorable moments.
"I am determined to come back at the start of next season in peak condition."Reuse content