Why Owen’s England future looks grim under Capello
Fabio Capello said Michael Owen’s England career is not necessarily over after omitting the Newcastle man from his squad again for the Kazakhstan and Belarus World Cup qualifiers.
But the manager’s history in Serie A suggests it’s going to be mighty tough for Owen to get back.
Like Owen, they are small, fast technically polished forwards with highly prolific track records.
And, like Owen, they were consistently pushed down the pecking order by Capello.
Although a past-his-best bit player at Roma now, Montella remains one of Serie A’s all-time top scorers and he was at his peak at the start of Capello’s time in the Italian capital.
The coach’s insistence on using the tiring Gabriel Batistuta at the end of the 2000-01 season instead of the on-fire Montella smacked of pure obstinacy to many Roma fans at the time.
At Juve, Capello regularly substituted Del Piero when he didn’t leave him on the bench or in the stands, with David Trezeguet and Zlatan Ibrahimovic his first choices in attack.
The impression is that Capello is simply not keen on short strikers and only overcomes his reluctance to field them if they can chase back and contribute in other areas.
The good news for England is that results back Capello’s policy. Roma won the 2001 Serie A title despite a major late-season wobble and Juventus took back-to-back championships under him in 2005 and 2006, although the Turin club was subsequently stripped of those honours because of Italy’s match-fixing scandal.
The picture is not so bright for Owen. While he can take comfort from the fact it is nothing personal, Capello just seems to prefer another type of forward.
And, in Del Piero and Montella, Michael is in good company.
PHOTO: Fabio Capello stands in front of Michael Owen during England’s friendly against Switzerland at Wembley, February 6, 2008. REUTERS/Eddie Keogh