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Michael Owen misses England matches

Michael Owen is set to miss England's two crucial European Championship qualifying matches next month after Newcastle ruled him out for three weeks because of injury.

Owen will meet with a consultant Thursday to learn whether he needs hernia surgery, but Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce said that his striker will miss England's matches whatever the decision because he has a 3-centimeter (1.2-inch) tear in his abductor muscle.

"He would miss England with his groin, so we might as well check up whether he needs a hernia op or not while he is out," Allardyce said late Wednesday after a 2-0 League Cup defeat at Arsenal.

The injury is the latest concern for England coach Steve McClaren, who only recently got Owen back from injury in time to revive England's attempt to reach next year's tournament.

Owen came back from two injury-ravaged seasons to hit three goals in last month's 3-0 wins over Israel and Russia, but he then limped out of Newcastle's last two Premier League games.

Emile Heskey, whose hard work on his return to the national team created the space for Owen to flourish, has broken his foot and will also miss the Oct. 13 match against Estonia and Oct. 17 meeting with Russia in Moscow.

McClaren was missing Wayne Rooney, Peter Crouch, Gary Neville, David Beckham, Owen Hargreaves and Frank Lampard last month, and will now have to repeat the trick of rebuilding an injury-hit team.

He will probably recall Rooney and Crouch, who are available after injury and suspension respectively.

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