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'Owen's England career isn't over'

sports Updated: Oct 06, 2008 20:20 IST
Owen's England career isn't over: Capello assistant

Michael Owen can still reignite his England career despite being snubbed by Fabio Capello, according to one of the Italian's assistants.

Capello left Owen out of his 23-man squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan on Saturday and Belarus the following Wednesday, fuelling suggestions that the Newcastle striker would never play for England again.

When Owen, 28, was dropped for last month's wins over Andorra and Croatia, Capello claimed his decision was due to the former Liverpool star's struggles with injury and illness.

He has played in all of Newcastle's six games since then and has five goals to his credit, yet Capello chose to recall Portsmouth's Peter Crouch rather than Owen, who has scored 40 goals for his country.

But if Owen feared his long-term international prospects were bleak, he can take heart from goalkeeping coach Ray Clemence, who believes the forward will be back.

Speaking at an event organised by England team sponsors Nationwide Building Society, Clemence said: "Michael has great belief in his own ability and quite rightly.

"His record speaks for himself. He has got to continue to play and continue to score goals and I'm sure an opportunity will come his way again.

"He has proven he can score goals at the very top level, in World Cups and European Championships. So if he is playing to the best of his ability I'm sure Fabio will consider him.

"The four strikers who are there at the moment are all scoring goals and therefore they are there on merit."

Clemence also backed West Ham goalkeeper Robert Green to bounce back from his nightmare performance against Bolton on Sunday.

Green is an understudy to David James and Clemence is convinced he will rise to the England challenge if called upon.

"Robert Green has been playing well all season. Unfortunately he made a couple of errors but that happens to goalkeepers," Clemence said.

"You have got to have broad shoulders. You have got to remember you are a quality goalkeeper and carry on."

England go into the forthcoming qualifiers on top of Group Six, ahead of the Ukraine on goal difference, after winning their first two matches.