Sven makes Owen ruling
By Alex Dunn. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
England boss Sven Goran Eriksson has told Michael Owen that he is not to play in Alan Shearer's testimonial on Thursday.
Owen has yet to prove his fitness since fracturing a metatarsal against Tottenham on New Year's Eve, with the Newcastle front-man thought to have been keen to play against Celtic.
His international boss does not, though, share his enthusiasm and has now laid down the law in terms of his involvement.
Having named just four strikers in his provisional World Cup squad, including Wayne Rooney, Eriksson is understandably keen to wrap up his senior marksman in cotton wool before the finals.
"I have told Michael he cannot play on Thursday," confirmed Eriksson.
"It would be the worst thing in the world if he was to break down in a testimonial game.
"Knowing Michael Owen, he will be thinking about the World Cup and wanting to take part in it."
Eriksson is eager instead for Owen to sharpen his fitness whilst playing for England B in their game with Belarus at Reading on May 25.
Friendlies against Hungary and Jamaica follow at Old Trafford, with Owen likely to play a prominent role in all the games as he searches for much needed match fitness.