England fire still burns in Owen

Striker determined to force his way back into Capello's plans

Owen: Keen to play for England again

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Michael Owen insists he remains as 'passionate as ever' about playing for England and hopes to convince Fabio Capello to throw him a World Cup lifeline.

"I never ask Wayne [Rooney] how an England trip was. I know how it is. I have done it 89 times. I am passionate as ever about extending my time with England. I'm not past it."

Michael Owen

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The Manchester United striker is fourth on the list of all-time leading scorers for England, but has played just once since Capello took charge of the national team.

That was as a second-half substitute in the 1-0 defeat in France 18 months ago and his summer move to United has yet to earn him a recall.

Owen admits he has been unable to discuss the situation with Capello, but is optimistic that he can break back into the England coach's plans if he is playing regularly.

Not past it

"Capello has never talked to me about the situation," Owen told the Daily Telegraph. "I met him after the Community Shield.

"He was coming down to get in his car with Franco [Baldini]. As I was getting on the coach, Franco saw me and gave me the thumbs-up. I walked over and shook their hands. Franco said: 'How are you? Are you feeling fit?' I said: 'Yeah, yeah, I'm feeling fine'. 'Good luck, we'll keep watching you'. That's the only contact.

"Yes, I have to play more. I am sure with the amount of games we have got, so many cup competitions, I will start my fair share.

"After that, it's down to how I play and whether the manager [Capello] wants me or not.

"But I never ask Wayne [Rooney] how an England trip was. I know how it is. I have done it 89 times. I am passionate as ever about extending my time with England. I'm not past it.''

The 29-year-old understands why his omission from the squad remains a newsworthy topic and he concedes it remains difficult to take when he is overlooked by England.

He added: "The reason why it has caused such a stir is that after I did my knee in 2006 I was straight back, not just in the squad, but in the team, playing and scoring under Steve McClaren.

"Now it's not like I have dropped down a step into the squad but fallen off the map.

"The first time was the hardest, the second time was the second-hardest, the third time...it is still hard."