Newcastle United boss Sam Allardyce attempted to pull Michael Owen out of England's victory over Estonia, it has been revealed.

The People says the sensational revelation will widen the rift between Owen and his Newcastle boss Allardyce. And it is likely to lead to Owen quitting St James' Park when the transfer window opens in January.

Mark Taylor, Newcastle's head of Sport Science and Medicine, wrote to the Football Association last week asking for Owen to be relieved of his England duties on the grounds of his lack of fitness.

The England medical team ignored Newcastle's request, preferring to make their own assessment of Owen, and also to listen to the player's views about his fitness. They then went along with Owen, who declared himself fit to face Estonia at Wembley yesterday, just a fortnight after having stomach surgery in Germany.