Owen focus on Newcastle despite Capello row

Updated: 15 April 2008 12:05 IST

Despite a controversy over his comments about England coach Fabio Capello, Michael Owen says he's focussed on the Premier League game against Hotspurs.


Michael Owen's preparations for a crucial Premier League game against Tottenham on Sunday have been overshadowed by a bitter row over comments made about England head coach Fabio Capello.

The striker, who scored in Newcastle's 2-0 win over Fulham last weekend, has defended himself amid accusations he made a scathing attack on Capello after England's defeat against France in Paris.

Owen immediately launched a defence of his comments and claimed his words were misconstrued and he was full of admiration for the Italian.

He said: "I was asked what I thought my role was in the team after two England games and my response was that you'll have to ask the manager. However in the papers that's been misconstrued and presented as an answer to the question 'what did you think your role was when you came on'.

"Headlines using words like 'clueless' are just words which I didn't use and mean nothing. I was answering a different question. I haven't been critical of the new management team. I've got lots of positive things to say about them.

"I've seen quotes attributed to me that relate to a question I was asked three months ago and they've been used to respond to something I was never asked. It looks like I've answered a question the night before when in fact it was weeks ago.

"Football is a team game and nobody knows that better than me. I'm a team player and I can only answer the questions as I see them.

"If I was asked the same question again - what is your role under the new manager in the future - I would say again that you're best asking him. Only he knows the formations and personnel he wants to use. All I can do is my best for Newcastle and, if I am selected, for England," Owen said.

Owen returns to club duty on Sunday when Newcastle will look to take another step in securing their Premiership status.

Their manager, Kevin Keegan, was visibly overjoyed at recording his first win during his second tenure at St James' Park; however, an away match at White Hart Land could prove tricky.

While Newcastle are in search of some vital points, Tottenham manager Juande Ramos cuts a contrasting figure to Keegan.

The Spaniard is now riding out the end of the season and was in relaxed mood on Friday afternoon when he defended his under-performing winger, Aaron Lennon.

The 20-year-old has been heavily criticised for his below-par performances this season and his crossing in particular has been called into question.

However, Ramos insists he has no concerns over Lennon, who was omitted from the full England and Under-21s squads in midweek.

He said: "Players have good and bad times throughout the season. They are not machines. If they are not at their best then we have to work on improving them.

"Of course he works on his crossing but we will put on an extra session for him to improve. Everyone has to polish things to make them better.

"Sometimes you have a player whose performance is way below what it should be, but you have to stick with them and make them better."

Topics : Football Michael Owens
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