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By ESPN Staff

Johnson the latest to be ruled out for England

Andrew Johnson has been ruled out of England's friendly against Germany at Wembley tomorrow.

The Everton striker has fluid on his knee and will instead return to Merseyside for treatment with his club.

Boss Steve McClaren could therefore gamble on the fitness of Newcastle striker Michael Owen.

'It is an ideal game for Michael Owen to get some minutes under his belt. He hasn't played in pre-season or had a game yet, so it's an opportunity to give him minutes,' said McClaren.

'He is a very important player for us and one that we are looking forward to getting back into the squad,' added McClaren.

McClaren will be unable to call on Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, Owen Hargreaves, Sol Campbell and Darren Bent for the clash with England's old rivals after his 28 man strong squad was yesterday depleted by injuries.

The England coach already had a couple of selection headaches to overcome ahead of the crunch Euro 2008 qualifiers against Israel and Russia next month, which striker Wayne Rooney will miss because of his fractured left foot while Peter Crouch must serve a one-match ban.

And McClaren said in a press conference today: 'It's an important game also in terms of preparation, we have the qualifiers in three weeks which are really big games we need to win.

'This is pure preparation but we're taking it seriously. We're looking forward to the game.

'It has been normal preparation for an England friendly.

'The players had three Premier League games last week, this will be their fourth in 10 days. You get knocks and niggles and we got that. We had to liaise with the clubs and medical staff.

'It's not been ideal but ask any international manager, no preparation is ideal. I know the Germans have got injuries.'

McClaren admitted the result is secondary tomorrow.

'We've got a big game tomorrow night and we've got to make sure we get a performance,' he said.

'We had a training session today and looked very sharp.

'People talk about injuries but whoever plays tomorrow will have a great opportunity to play at Wembley, against Germany, in front of a full house. Everyone knows it is a special occasion and that's what we want to make it.'

The England manager rejected suggestions the game might be a waste of time with so many players missing through injury.

He added: 'Many people have said about the game `is it worth it?' Of course it is. I'm getting the squad together, the two days we have had together have been very productive. We're getting England back on the agenda which is the most important thing.'

And McClaren revealed he and his staff had been quick to encourage the squad to repeat their performances the last time the they met up.

'There has been quite a gap from (the games against) Brazil and Estonia,' he said.

'We have reminded the players just how good their performances were. They set the standard and we have to maintain that standard no matter who plays for England.'