Michael Owen trained for a second full day with his England teammates, handing England soccer coach Sven- Goran Eriksson a selection dilemma before tomorrow's World Cup qualifying match against Wales.
The striker's recovery from injury means Eriksson may now decide to play the 24-year-old alongside Jermain Defoe in attack, with Wayne Rooney just behind them - a departure from his favored 4-4-2 formation that features only two strikers.
A regular for the team since 1998, Owen hasn't scored since joining Real Madrid in August, while Rooney has recovered from the foot injury he sustained in Euro 2004 and last week scored three long-range goals on his Manchester United debut. Tottenham's Defoe last month scored his first international goal in a 2-1 win in Poland. He says the three of them can combine well, informs Bloomberg.
According to Scotsman, Wales winger Ryan Giggs looks set to come up against several of his Manchester United team-mates on their home ground and Arsenal boss Wenger reflected: “I am keen to see these games because they are all full of Premiership players.
“What makes the England game special is that the likes of Giggs and
Rio] Ferdinand play on their home ground against each other. That will be strange.”
The Republic of Ireland are also in action against former world champions France in Paris tomorrow night. Wenger believes his countryman will just have the edge.
“I would put England and France as favourites, but I am not sure both will win,” he said.
“It would not be surprising if one was a draw. They are playing against teams who can punish anyone in the world.”
Owen has spent the week insisting he should be judged on his record of consistently scoring for England rather than his lack of match minutes in Madrid.
Eriksson's naturally conservative inclinations point to him keeping faith with Owen, but Jermain Defoe's stirring performance – and superbly taken goal – in last month's win over Poland has made that a harder decision to justify.
"Obviously I'm still young and I've still got a lot to learn," said Defoe. "But when you are young you want to play as many games as possible."
The dilemma could be resolved by Rooney being dropped back into an attacking midfield role, allowing Owen to link up with Defoe, as they did with some success against Poland, informs FOX Sports.