Injured Owen back in Germany
Newcastle have sent £17million striker Michael Owen to Germany in a bid to speed up his recovery from a thigh injury. The 27-year-old, who damaged a thigh muscle during England's 1-0 friendly victory in Austria on Friday evening, has headed back to the Continent to consult top specialist Hans-Wilhelm Muller Wohlfahrt. Such is Dr Wohlfahrt's reputation that the talk on Tyneside is that Owen could be back in action within a fortnight, although Magpies boss Sam Allardyce is sticking to the initial estimate of four to six weeks. Allardyce told the Evening Chronicle: 'We have sent Michael to Germany to see Dr Wohlfahrt in a bid to speed up his recovery from his thigh injury. 'But at this moment in time, we do no see the point in changing our view that we will be without Michael for between four and six weeks. 'If we start talking about him coming back earlier there will be disappointment if he does not. 'However if we can get him back quicker after Dr Wohlfahrt's treatment, then it will be a huge bonus for us.' Allardyce's caution is perhaps well-founded in the context of Owen's recent injury history, which has limited him to just 15 appearances for his club since he fractured a metatarsal at Tottenham on December 31, 2005. Indeed, he has managed just 25 games in total for the club in almost 28 months, scoring 10 goals in the process. Owen will at least be in familiar territory in Munich - another German specialist, Ulrike Muschaweck, performed a double hernia operation on him in September. Dr Muschaweck had the striker back in action within eight days as he scored on his return in a 3-2 Barclays Premier League victory over Everton, and he was able to take his place in the England side for the Euro 2008 qualifiers against Estonia and Russia last month. Newcastle sent a member of their own medical staff out to Austria with Owen last week - they did the same with Republic of Ireland keeper Shay Given after his recent injury problems - to keep a close eye on their valuable assets. As a result, Allardyce and his staff were kept fully up to date with developments with the former Liverpool and Real Madrid striker in addition to the information they would normally have got from the England set-up.