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By ESPN Staff

Injured Owen ruled out for five months

Newcastle today confirmed Michael Owen has ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee after the England striker was ruled out of the rest of the World Cup.

Magpies chairman Freddy Shepherd claimed it was 'too early' to say how long Owen will be out of action for after sustaining the 'serious injury' during the first minute of England's 2-2 draw against Sweden in Cologne.

Shepherd said: 'Michael is flying back from Germany today and sadly his World Cup is over.

'We've been informed by the FA that Michael has suffered a ruptured anterior cruciate ligament, but at this stage it's too early to say how long he will be out for, although it is a serious injury.

'He'll come home and back into our care and will be assessed by our club medical staff at some point in the next couple of days following his return.'

The 26-year-old, who missed the second half of last season with a metatarsal injury, flew back to the team hotel in Baden-Baden this morning and underwent an MRI scan at the Max Grundig hospital at Buhlertal.

A statement from the FA read: 'Following his injury in last night's match with Sweden, Michael Owen had his right knee scanned today and it has now been confirmed the injury will prevent Michael playing any further part in the World Cup and he will return to England immediately.

'Newcastle United have been kept fully informed of the facts and Michael's medical care will now be managed by the club.'

Owen said: 'Obviously it's a massive blow to suffer the injury and be out of the World Cup.

'As soon as it happened I knew I was in trouble. It was a major disappointment to pick up the injury so early in the game and I will go back home and work with Newcastle's medical staff to put a recovery programme in place.

'I am clearly sorry to be leaving the lads in Germany but I am convinced they can go on and achieve success. I will be following all the matches very closely and giving them my full support, hopefully all the way to Berlin.

'My main objective now is to get fit as quickly as possible for Newcastle.'

England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson said: ''Michael has had terrible luck with injuries since Christmas.

'I feel very sorry for him to miss out on the rest of the World Cup - it's a blow to him and a big loss for the team.

'However, I am sure Michael will work very hard to get back as quickly as possible for Newcastle and England. He is a true professional and a very mentally strong person.

'I hope the team can now go on and achieve success in Germany for Michael.'

Shepherd said everyone at St James' Park would rally around their record signing.

He told 'Everyone at the club will give Michael their full support and our concern now is to provide the best possible care for Michael and get him on the mend as quickly as possible so we can all look forward to the day he's back playing and scoring goals in a black and white shirt for Newcastle United.''

Owen has made just 10 starts and one substitute appearance since his move to St James' Park from Real Madrid last August.

He played just half an hour's football for his club, at Birmingham in May, after fracturing a metatarsal in his right foot at Tottenham on New Year's Eve.

Shepherd added: 'It's well known that the FA insure England players when they are away on international duty should issues such as compensation arise, and that applies in Michael's case.

'Although Glenn is away working on getting his Pro Licence this week, we keep in regular touch and we'll be having regular discussions going forward about how we make sure we are in the strongest possible position at the start of the new season.

'It's a blow for Michael and the club, but you have to deal with injuries when they happen. Last season, you had to give great credit to the rest of the squad for the way they managed to climb the table up to seventh and give us a chance of Europe while Michael was missing with his foot injury.

'And whoever starts the season on the pitch for us they have to meet the challenges ahead.'

Roeder, whose managerial career was interrupted by brain surgery, has no doubts that Owen's strength of character will see him make a full recovery.

He said: 'Nobody knows better than me what is like to be struck by a thunderbolt and how suddenly your life can be chopped away from under you.

'But the measure of a man is how he picks himself up and comes back and, in this sense, Michael Owen is a big man and he will come back.

'Yes, it is a massive blow, but what Newcastle United will not do is wallow in self pity and we will not be crying over any spilt milk.

'When the going gets tough, the tough get going, and that's what we and Michael Owen will do.'

Roeder sensed immediately that Owen was in trouble as he watched the game on television at Warwick University, where he started his course this week.

He told the Newcastle Evening Chronicle: 'It's easy to be selfish in situations like this, but my first thoughts were for Michael.

'I was in contact with him through text messages while the game was still going on, and he told me he was in a lot of pain.'