Plea to Eriksson over Owen

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The Independent Football

Gérard Houllier will bring back Liverpool's leading scorer, Michael Owen, for the home game against Man-chester United this afternoon, but hopes to persuade Sven Goran Eriksson to leave him out of England's friendly against Denmark next Sunday.

Owen, who suffered an ankle injury five weeks ago, was left at home when Liverpool travelled to Romania for Thursday's rain-lashed Uefa Cup tie against Steaua Buch-arest. Houllier needs him to reinforce a tired team today but said of the friendly: "I'd say it's better to keep him out."

With Paul Scholes and Kieron Dyer injured and Middlesbrough's Danny Mills out of form, young Londoners Glen Johnson (Chelsea) and Scott Parker (Charlton) are among those hoping to be called into the squad, which Eriksson will announce in Portugal tomorrow during an inspection visit to England's training camp for the Euro 2004 finals. Rio Ferdinand will again be left out, having been charged with misconduct for failing to take a drugs test.