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England coach insists door open for Newcastle's Owen

England goalkeeper coach Ray Clemence insists the international door hasn't been shut on Newcastle United captain Michael Owen.

Speaking at a event organised by England team sponsors Nationwide Building Society, Clemence said: "Michael has great belief in his own ability and quite rightly.

"His record speaks for himself. He has got to continue to play and continue to score goals and I'm sure an opportunity will come his way again.

"He has proven he can score goals at the very top level, in World Cups and European Championships. So if he is playing to the best of his ability I'm sure Fabio will consider him.

"The four strikers who are there at the moment are all scoring goals and therefore they are there on merit."

Former England goalkeeper Clemence is convinced Newcastle's problems both on and off the field have hindered Owen's cause.

He said: "Newcastle need somebody to steady the ship. Joe Kinnear I'm sure will do a good job in the time that he is there but they need somebody long term so the players and the fans know where the club is going.

"Until that happens it is difficult for the team to perform consistently week-in, week-out on the pitch.

"Michael has a strong belief in his own ability but you can only finish the chances that are created for you. He has the ability to score goals off his own bat but a lot are from inside the box from people delivering the ball to him.

"Fabio wants to have the best 23 players he possibly can, whether that is Michael Owen, Jermain Defoe or Wayne Rooney. That's up to him. He feels the four strikers he has at the moment have done well for him."

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Tribal Football Staff

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