Owen 'not 100%' but set for Shearer run-out

May 7, 2006

Newcastle striker Michael Owen could play some part in Alan Shearer's testimonial on Thursday night as he bids for World Cup fitness.

The 26-year-old was again absent from the matchday 16 a week after making his comeback from a five-month lay-off with a fractured metatarsal as the Magpies clinched seventh place in the Premiership with victory over Chelsea.

He was not expected to play a significant role against Celtic on Thursday evening, but caretaker boss Glenn Roeder admitted if he felt it would be to Owen's benefit, he would play.

'That will be left down to Michael completely now,' he said. 'If between the medical team and Michael, they thought there was any mileage in giving him a short run-out, that would happen.

'But if they didn't, he wouldn't take part.

'Michael wasn't on the bench because, exactly how he was after the game against Birmingham, he wasn't 100% happy with it.

'He's done some light training this week, but he's not 100% happy with it.

'There's still a dull ache there. It's nothing serious and he hasn't needed to visit the surgeon or have any more scans or X-rays since Sunday, and it's just a question now of being more patient and building him up.

'I'm sure there still is time for the World Cup, but with this injury now as far as Michael is concerned, I think you will have to take a weekly view of it rather than making long-term statements that can make you end up looking silly.'

Roeder admitted the injury, which the striker suffered at Tottenham on December 31, has taken far longer than expected to clear up, but insisted there is still no cause for panic.

'I agree, I can't deny that,' he said. 'We thought we would have had him back for the whole of April, and it has surprised us that we have basically had him for 30 minutes at Birmingham last week, and after 10 minutes, he wasn't happy with it.

'I'm sure there are reasons for that, but we would have to take an opinion and a view from our medical team to discuss why that is because many other players have had the same injury and come back a lot quicker.

'Until he's played a couple of 90 minutes with no reaction, it would only be natural to be concerned.

'You could hardly say you are absolutely delighted and very confident that Michael's going to be okay when he hasn't got one 90 minutes under his belt.

'There has to be some concern, but we are nowhere near getting to the proportions of being hysterical about it.'

Owen has managed just 11 appearances for the club since his £17million summer switch from Real Madrid, but his seven goals tell their own story.

He has repeatedly denied he will leave Tyneside during the closed season, and Roeder knows how frustrated he has been to have missed so much football.

'Michael's wanted to have played,' he said. 'He thought he would get in four or five games at the end of the season.

'Michael has said himself, he's found it very frustrating and hugely disappointing that he hasn't been able to play for Newcastle more.

'That's important to him, important to our fans and to the whole club that he puts it that way.

'He would like to have played for Newcastle more, but the fans have had a taste of Michael Owen and when he is fully fit - seven in 11 games.

'We knew he was capable of that before he came here, but it's great to see him doing it in a Newcastle shirt.

'He's the most disappointed that he hasn't been able to continue to play games and score goals at the rate he was, because the team does make chances.'