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Monday, March 30, 2009
Lampard: Don't write off Owen

Soccernet staff

Frank Lampard believes Michael Owen still has a future with England despite the Newcastle United striker's latest snub from national team boss Fabio Capello.

Owen, who has scored 40 goals in 89 England appearances, was once again overlooked by Capello as the Italian turned to Tottenham Hotspur's Darren Bent to replenish his striking options ahead of Wednesday's World Cup qualifier with Ukraine.

With Emile Heskey, Carlton Cole and Peter Crouch all going off injured in Saturday's friendly with Slovakia at Wembley it was thought Owen, who has won just a single cap under Capello, might win a recall.

The 29-year-old only recently returned to action after seven weeks out with an ankle problem and after being continually left out by the England boss even when fit this latest snub has been portrayed as the end of Owen's international career.

However, Lampard does not see it that way. "Michael Owen is one of the best strikers ever to play for England," he said. "His goal-scoring record is unbelievable."

"But he has been injured for a long time and Fabio does not feel he is ready to play. I am sure if Michael is fit, playing well and deserves to be in the team, he will be."

Lampard also had praise for former Chelsea team-mate Andriy Shevchenko, who endured a miserable two years at Stamford Bridge following his 30m transfer from AC Milan, ahead of the midweek Wembley date with Ukraine.

"I don't know why it didn't work for Andriy," Lampard said of the striker. "But I do know he is a fantastic player who will be a huge threat to us on Wednesday."

"He can produce something out of the blue. He can score and make goals. He is one of the best there has ever been."

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