Owen set for Newcastle comeback

Updated: 2007-04-28 08:52

Newcastle United striker Michael Owen could play for the first time since the 2006 World Cup in Monday's Premier League game at Reading.

Newcastle manager Glenn Roeder told the club's Web site (www.nufc.premiumtv.co.uk) on Friday that Owen, who damaged knee ligaments in England's group stage draw with Sweden last June, had a "definite chance" of facing the Royals.

"I will see how he trains over the next three days and if that goes well he will play on Monday," Roeder said.

Newcastle signed Owen from Real Madrid for 16 million pounds ($31.9 million) in 2005, but the striker had been dogged by injury even before the World Cup in Germany.

He has only made 11 appearances for the northeast club, but still managed to scored seven goals -- including a hat-trick in a 4-2 win at West Ham United in December 2005.

Underlining Owen's value to the club, Roeder told Sky Sports: "It would mean a lot to the rest of the players here, we have all missed him.

"He would be a huge miss to any team, so it would be fantastic if we could get him back on Monday night.

"But if not, I will be as confident as I can be for the following game, which is the last home game of the season against Blackburn."

Roeder would not be the only manager to welcome Owen's return.

Steve McClaren's England have a Euro 2008 qualifier in Estonia on June 6 and have struggled in front of goal, scoring only once in five games before a 3-0 win over Andorra.

Asked about international duty, Roeder said: "Michael is keen to put the Newcastle shirt on first. He wants to play for England, but it is not a case of England first and Newcastle second."

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