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McClaren: I pick England team

England boss Steve McClaren insists he will not ask Michael Owen about his preferred strike-partner for their Euro2008 qualifier against Russia.

Liverpool striker Peter Crouch is available for the match, but he must dislodge Emile Heskey after the Wigan forward's impressive return in tandem with Owen against Israel on Saturday.

"It's a tough decision, but I pick the team," insisted the coach after Saturday's win. "It will be dictated by what I think. It will have nothing to do with other players and their opinions. It would count, but I would not discuss that with the player. I would know that from the performance of the player. Michael has played well with Peter Crouch and with Emile Heskey."

Owen, who scored his 38th international goal just after half-time on Saturday, combined well with Heskey against Israel.

"I know Emile like the back of my hand so we were never worried about whether we would click going into the game," he said. "Emile is Emile. You know what you're going to get from him and he can be a real weapon in certain games. He was unplayable in some of the games I was alongside him for Liverpool, so it doesn't surprise me that he did so well against Israel."

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