McClaren's appointment a 'natural step' - Owen

May 5, 2006

Michael Owen has welcomed the appointment of Steve McClaren as England head coach and believes the Football Association have been wise in looking to a familiar face.

The Middlesbrough manager will leave his current post at the end of the season and, after assisting Sven-Goran Eriksson at the World Cup finals, will replace the Swede on August 1.

McClaren was chosen above candidates including Bolton's Sam Allardyce and Charlton's Alan Curbishley, and Owen believes that by trusting in the 45-year-old the FA have made a decision which will please England's players.

Owen said in The Times: 'He has been with the national team for a few years and that helps. He knows the ropes of international football.

'He does a lot with the team as it is, coaching, going through different things tactically, sorting things out on the pitch and off it.

'It does seem a natural step. He has come through the ranks from being a coach to being a manager and now an international manager.

'It is good he will be involved in this World Cup and I am sure he will learn more things [this summer]. It is nice the continuity is kept.'

Owen has recovered from the broken foot he sustained against Tottenham on New Year's Eve, but with the World Cup just five weeks away, he does not intend to take any risks and could sit out Sunday's final Barclays Premiership match of the season against Chelsea.

'I've come this far and I don't want to risk any stresses and strains for one game, so we'll calculate the decision with the Newcastle physios and manager and see where we come to,' he told Sky Sports News.