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Owen declares himself fit for World Cup

"If there was a World Cup game tomorrow I would be fit and in condition to play," he said.

india Updated: May 17, 2006 19:41 IST

Michael Owen has declared himself fit to play in the World Cup after scoring twice in a practice match at England's pre-tournament training camp in Portugal.

Owen, who has played only one game since breaking a bone in his foot on New Year's Eve, has been an injury doubt for the last five months.

But he completed his second training session in two days with England in the Algarve Wednesday and scored twice in a nine-a-side game.

"If there was a World Cup game tomorrow I would be fit and in condition to play," he said.

"I have been feeling fit for quite a while now and I am excited about the World Cup. There are no doubts at all in my mind about being fit for the first game against Paraguay. None at all.

"Of course it is a relief, but I was always confident. All the way through I have never been down about it, I always thought I would be fit."

Owen's recovery is a major boost for England and their head coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, who included the 26-year-old striker in his World Cup squad of 23 despite concerns about his fitness.

And Owen, who has scored 35 goals in 75 international appearances, believes his lack of games will not affect his sharpness in Germany.

He said: "The way I look at it is people take the whole summer off and then they have a pre-season for four or five weeks before they are fit again.

"It's the same for me but I have had the added bonus of being on the bikes and the treadmill for the last three months, so I have kept myself in good shape.

"I think I have played probably 20 or 30 fewer games than I would have liked this season, but then again there are probably other players who have played 20 or 30 games too many!

"I know which amount of games I would prefer - and that is fewer. Whilst it has been frustrating time for me with respect to the amount of Premiership games I have played, from an England point of view I suppose it has been helpful."

Owen's recovery leaves England with only fellow striker Wayne Rooney to worry about, and the news for him could yet prove positive, too.

"We all hope that Rooney is fit and I am sure he will be," said Owen.

"There is no word around the camp and I don't want to be the one that says he is definitely going to be fit. But I was out with Wayne last week and he was feeling good.

"I am sure every other country around the world would like a bill of health like we have got at the minute.

"Apart from Ledley King who was a real doubt with his injury the rest of us are all fighting fit. Let's hope we can stay that way and then I will be very comfortable going into the World Cup."

First Published: May 17, 2006 19:41 IST