Sven backs Owen's England return
LONDON, England (Reuters) -- England would benefit if Michael Owen were to move to Manchester United, national coach Sven Goran Eriksson said on Wednesday.
The Real Madrid striker has admitted he has spoken to a number of English Premier League clubs, amid reports he would like to leave Spain.
Former Liverpool star Owen has fallen down the pecking order at Real following the arrival of Brazilian duo Robinho and Julio Baptista at the Bernabeu.
"From what I have read and heard, it could be that Owen is going to Manchester United," Eriksson told reporters.
"I shouldn't complain about that if that is the case because he would be working with Wayne Rooney every day and that can only make England better," the Swede said.
"Whatever he does, it must be up to him. I know more or less how the situation is so I don't need to speak to him. I haven't spoken to him since the games in America (on a U.S. tour).
"Nobody can doubt the ability of Michael Owen if you are a coach or a manager. You can never take away all the goals he has scored. And he will go on scoring, he's only 25 years old."
Eriksson believes he is the best striker at Real and if he stays at the Bernabeu he will be able to hold down a regular place in the side.
"If he stays in Madrid he will play again because he is the best goal scorer Real Madrid have. He is in the same class as Ronaldo," Eriksson said.
Owen is suspended for England's next World Cup qualifier, against Wales on September 3, after he was booked in the Group Six match against Azerbaijan in March.
Eriksson said that he would therefore only play Owen in the second half of England's friendly against Denmark in two weeks' time.
"During my four days off there have been two big signings confirmed by the club and I can understand why this has resulted in speculation about my future," Owen said in a statement.
"Real Madrid contacted my advisers over the weekend and explained that they wanted me to stay, but they would not stand in my way if the right opportunity arose for my return to the Premiership.
"With the knowledge of Real Madrid, there have been brief negotiations with three or four Premiership clubs although no formal negotiations of any kind have taken place.
"I am off to Austria with the rest of the squad today to undertake an important 14-day pre-season fitness programme and I don't envisage anything happening during this time.
"When I joined Real Madrid, I was considered by most people to be fourth choice striker and yet I still managed to start 26 games and score 16 goals.
"I am confident that the Real Madrid president, Senor (Florentino) Perez, will have my best interests at heart whatever happens.
"At the moment, I am preparing myself physically and mentally for the coming season and hopefully the World Cup which follows."
Newcastle United, who have loaned Nicky Butt to Birmingham City, have confirmed their interest in Owen.
Newcastle manager Graeme Souness said: "Michael Owen is the sort of player that I want Newcastle to be linked with and the sort of player we have to be interested in.
"Every club wants to have a striker who can get 20 goals a season every season and there aren't many of them about. Owen, Mark Viduka and Nicolas Anelka are those sort of players."
The 30-year-old Butt, who has spent just 12 months at St James' Park since a $3.54 million transfer from Manchester United, has been loaned to City for one year.
He struggled to find his best form for the Magpies and the arrivals of Scott Parker and Emre this summer have pushed him down the midfield pecking order.
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