England boss Fabio Capello has given a boost of sorts to Man Utd’s “Owens”, Michael & Hargreaves.
Capello revealed that he has been monitoring Owen’s situation at Old Trafford and was delighted to see him score a hat-trick in United’s 3-1 win at Wolfsburg in the Champions League last week.
But the Italian was bemused that Ferguson benched him for United’s next game at home to Aston Villa on Saturday, which the Barclays Premier League champions ended up losing 1-0.
While the England boss has not dismissed Owen’s chances for South Africa, he is clearly confused as to the lack of football Ferguson is giving him this season.
And Capello insists Owen, who was again on the bench in the 3-0 win against Wolves, needs to be playing on a more regular basis if he is to make his 23-man World Cup squad.
Capello did, however, give United’s injured midfielder Owen Hargreaves hope of earning a place in his squad for next year. Hargreaves has not played for 15 months after major surgery on both knees to cure a tendonitis problem but he is back in training.
Ferguson has recently stated that the 28-year-old, who was England’s player of the tournament at the 2006 World Cup, needs to regain his confidence before being ready for competitive football.
But Capello is refusing to rule Hargreaves out of his plans and insists there is still time for him to be included if he is playing regularly for United.
He said: ‘Why not? He can because he has time to recover everything. He has to play. Players who do not play will not be with me.
He has six months to recover his good form but he needs to play. I will choose players that will be fit in May, the players that play all the games.’