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5 talking points from the NPFL weekend

By ESPN Staff

Owen hopes he can play for Toon this term

Michael Owen is wary of planning an England return before he has played for Newcastle.

The 27-year-old has been out since the World Cup with a cruciate knee ligament injury, and he could opt to miss the final games of his club's season even if he is fit to return before their campaign finishes.

It means he remains a doubt for England's clash in Estonia, their final European qualifier before a summer break.

'Obviously, I've got to play for my club before then, that's a decision for later,' said Owen on the possibility of returning to face Estonia.

'I haven't thought about what game or anything like that.'

Owen was injured in June against Sweden and has visited Dr Richard Steadman for treatment on his knee.

The former Liverpool striker believes it could be more beneficial to continue his rehabilitation rather than play in the final games of the season, particularly if Newcastle have little to play for.

'If I'm fit to play in the last one or two games of the season, it might be wise to continue with my strength programme and maybe play a couple of games behind closed doors,' he said.

'I haven't started running yet, that's the next step and if it goes well then it'll be onwards and upwards.

'No-one has said I can't play this season and it gives me hope and belief. If I don't, it'll be next season.'

Plenty has happened since Owen's injury, with David Beckham standing down as England captain and then getting dropped from the squad after Steve McClaren took over from Sven-Goran Eriksson.

Owen, Beckham's former team-mate at Real Madrid, has backed his former captain in his latest move to America.

'I went over to Los Angeles on pre-season tour when I played with him at Real Madrid, against LA Galaxy and we beat them 2-1,' said Owen.

'It was a fantastic city, a lovely place and you could see the attraction of going to live there - it's English-speaking and a fantastic place to go on holiday or live.'