Date: 21st April 2006 at 11:55am
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Forget Michael Owen’s battle for World Cup fitness … it seems as though we could just see minutes of him in a Toon shirt before he goes to France!

The 26-year-old will only play a part in the final match of the season! Making it perfectly plain to us all that time has beaten him as we look back on a season of wasted hope and opportunities for a player who could have given us so much.

He may recover in time for the start of the World Cup, but he will be dreadfully short of match fitness.

Glenn Roeder: ‘The most we can now hope for is to have Michael back with us for our final game of the season against Chelsea, but we will not rush him.

‘Even with Alan Shearer out, there is no question of us putting any pressure on him.

‘At the moment, Michael has done everything our medical team and fitness coach Paul Winsper have asked of him in the past couple of weeks. He is now running in a straight line and striking the ball with pace and tomorrow we are hoping to hear from his surgeon that he can start twisting and turning again.

‘That would mean he could train properly with the first team again from the start of next week and by the end of it, be close to being fit.’

Owen has not played since breaking the bone in his foot at Tottenham on December 31, a run of 20 games.