Give me a chance, says Owen

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Michael Owen believes Sven-Goran Eriksson cannot overlook him when he names players for the World Cup qualifier in Northern Ireland…

 Owen missed the win over Wales through suspension and England coach Eriksson has yet to tell the forward if he will return.
But Owen, 25, said: "I’m confident of my position in the team and my value to it on recent and past performances.

"I don’t think I’d be especially thankful if the manager played me. I don’t think I owe anyone any favours."

And Owen insists he has nothing to prove, despite being forced from favour at Real Madrid and returning to the Premiership at Newcastle in a £17 million deal.

"I got on very well with the Spanish players at Real Madrid, the fans were very good to me and, apart from the first month, the press were very good too," he said.

"It’s not like I went out there and only played a bit. No-one else in the squad played more games than me – I played 47 games, 20 of them from the start. 
"I played a lot more than many people think but mud sticks if they see you on the bench. I played a lot of games and scored a lot of goals so I don’t need to show them anything that they are missing."

Owen is expected to be recalled in place of Shaun Wright-Phillips or Joe Cole for the Windsor Park game.

But he says he is not bothered who makes way for him.

"The manager chooses the best 11 players. If I’m in that, I’m not going to sit around and think who might not be playing or should be playing," the former Liverpool marksman insisted.

"I am fine, I have done a full pre-season and it’s no concern."

Owen has not played a competitive game since May and is raring to add to his tally of 32 goals from 71 caps in Belfast.

"It was frustrating not playing against Wales. It hit home when they played the national anthem," he added.

"It should be another good atmosphere, and a hostile home crowd, I suspect.

"They’re great games to play in and these sort of games are always exciting.

"I am fine, I have done a full pre-season and it’s no concern. I started six of Real Madrid’s eight pre-season games."

Defender Luke Young, meanwhile, hopes to emulate the consistency of Gary Neville as he deputises for the injured Manchester United defender.

"Gary Neville has been the best right-back in the Premier League for the last eight years or so and he is someone that you know you can rely on," Young said.

"You know what you are going to get from him. He is always steady and doesn’t do anything silly. He is a great player and I would like to have the same attributes as him."