Hodgson gives Owen hope

England boss keeping an eye on Stoke new-boy

Michael Owen: On England duty with Peter Crouch

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England coach Roy Hodgson has seemingly opened the door for Michael Owen to earn a sensational recall to the international scene.

The 32-year-old made his Stoke debut at the weekend as a late substitute against Manchester City.

It was Owen's first game since November last year when he featured in the Champions League for Manchester United.

Owen has not played for England for more than four years, but with Hodgson's options looking slim - he has refused to rule out a recall, should he hit form.

Should he get anywhere close, there is bound to be a clamour for the

32-year-old to return to the international fold.

At a time when England are hardly blessed with top goalscorers, it has never been forgotten Owen has scored an incredible 40 goals for his country, a number exceeded only by Sir Bobby Charlton, Gary Lineker and Jimmy Greaves.

Well wishes

"I can only wish Michael Owen well," he said.

"I like Michael Owen. Like all football lovers, I admire what he has done in the past. He has had a wonderful career.

"It is disappointing that he has not played as many games as he would like

over the past few years. Now hopefully he is going to get the chance and as I have said I can only wish him well."

However, after Hodgson dismissed the claims of Peter Crouch, Owen's new team-mate at the Britannia Stadium, earlier this week, it does seem the former Liverpool forward has some convincing to do.

"Before we start muddying the waters entirely by going back and talking about players who have been outstanding for England in the past, let's first of all make sure those players are playing extremely well, better than the ones I am selecting," said Hodgson.

"There is no doubt that any player, whether it is Michael Owen or anyone else for that matter, who is on fire, scoring goals, and playing extremely well in the Premier League every week is going to come to my attention.

"But there is no reason for me to discuss him (Owen) or Crouch, as people have tried to do, or anybody else.

"In my time so far, I have had a largish squad of players. I have been working with them and they are trying very hard to play the type of football we want."