Newcastle United boss Sam Allardyce has dismissed claims of a rift with striker Michael Owen over his England commitments.

He said: "It's just people trying to get between myself and Michael.

"The same has happened with Rafa Benitez and Steven Gerrard at Liverpool earlier this year - it's a common theme during the international breaks."

And Allardyce says that all he is hoping for is that his 14 international players all report back to Tyneside with a clean bill of health ahead of the home match with Tottenham on October 22.

"For me as a manager, I have 14 players away on international duty representing their countries, and for each and everyone of them all I can do is keep my fingers crossed they come back fit and well," he told the Evening Chronicle.