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England boss eager to see Newcastle's Owen in action

England boss Steve McClaren is ready to throw Newcastle striker Michael Owen into action tonight against Germany.

"Michael Owen is a big player for us," said McClaren. "When he came back in the summer, he looked really sharp, if anything better than he was before.

"His enthusiasm, attitude and work-rate were first class.

"Every team needs a genuine world-class goalscorer and we have Michael.

"Tomorrow represents an ideal opportunity to give him minutes on the pitch and get some more match practice under his belt in preparation for three weeks when we play Israel and Russia next month, when hopefully he will be better still."

It is not difficult to see why Owen will prove so vital to England's chance of reaching next summer's European Championships.

With 37 goals to his name - 12 short of Sir Bobby Charlton's all-time record - Owen is responsible for almost 40% of the entire output of the 23 players remaining in McClaren's squad now Steven Gerrard, Darren Bent and Andrew Johnson have pulled out.

"He is a player I have been looking forward to getting back in the squad because he has such quality," said McClaren.

"I know he is itching to play at Wembley again and this is an ideal opportunity for him to get some minutes under his belt."

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Tribal Football Staff

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