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By ESPN Staff

Surgeon's encouragement a boon to recovering Owen

England striker Michael Owen has been assured his knee operation will not end his career.

Owen, who had the cruciate ligament operation performed by world-famous surgeon Dr Richard Steadman in America, revealed in The Times how he was given the good news as soon as he came round at the clinic in Denver.

'When I came round after my cruciate ligament operation the surgeon was standing by my bedside.

'He told me straight away: 'Whatever makes you retire from football it won't be your knee'.

'Coming from a man as respected as Dr Steadman that was the perfect way to wake up.

'Perhaps it was walking into his office and seeing all the signed shirts and thank-you letters from dozens of grateful sportsmen, including plenty of familiar names, Alan Shearer, Henrik Larsson, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Craig Bellamy.'

Owen also reveals how he has been treated by England boss Steve McClaren since the injury during the World Cup in Germany.

'Steve McClaren has been supportive, inviting me to drop by the England team hotel before the game against Andorra. It's nice to know that people are willing you to return, although I have been impressed at how the boys have played without myself or Wayne Rooney.

'It will be frustrating watching others rattle in goals for club and country but I am fortunate in that I don't suffer low periods when I am out with injuries.

'That is part of the mental strength that has served me so well, and which I am certain will see me banging in the goals in 2007.'