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    Michael Owen returns to boost England

    Manchester: England striker Michael Owen says he does not expect to suffer any further injury problems when he makes his international return on Friday.

    Owen will captain an England B team against Albania at Burnley in his first international appearance since damaging knee ligaments during the World Cup. He has previously suffered with hamstring problems and broke a bone in his foot before last summer's tournament in Germany while playing for club side Newcastle.

    "I came in earlier to training at Newcastle than anyone and stayed until it was dark every single day and was doing more than anyone could do," Owen told reporters on Thursday. "It's impossible I could do anymore and I really feel the benefits now... I haven't felt an ounce of discomfort from my knee.

    "When you have a bad, bad injury you have to get the bit between your teeth and think I'm going to come back better than ever. "And although my body let me down in the World Cup, it won't let me down again."

    England coach Steve McClaren admits England need Owen's goals to boost a faltering Euro 2008 qualifying campaign. England are currently fourth in Group E after six games. Their next qualifier is in Estonia on June 6 and it is a game Owen feels England have to win.

    "There isn't too much room for a slip now," Owen added. If we lose one game it doesn't mean we won't qualify but we couldn't afford more than one slip up. "You don't want to slip up against Estonia when you still have some big hitters to come." McClaren, who will give Manchester United striker Alan Smith a chance to play alongside Owen against Albania, would not be drawn on whether he would recall former captain David Beckham.

    "I have never said the door is closed on David Beckham and his form has been monitored," McClaren said. "There is a lot of speculation about him and quite a few other people, but I'm not going to name my squad until Saturday."

    Tottenham Hotspur wideman Aaron Lennon will start against Albania with Reading's Nicky Shorey rewarded for an impressive season with a role at left-back.