Allardyce concerned by Owen's England schedule

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LONDON, Oct 8 (Reuters) Newcastle United manager Sam Allardyce has expressed reservations about striker Michael Owen playing two games in four days for England so soon after undergoing groin surgery.

Owen made a remarkably quick return to United's first team yesterday, coming on as a substitute to score in the 3-2 home win over Everton just eight days after his operation.

He will now be expected to play a key role in England's home Euro 2008 qualifier against Estonia on Saturday and the match in Moscow against Russia four days later.

''I don't know whether two games in such a short space of time is right, but it's not my decision, though I will speak to (England coach) Steve McClaren about that,'' Allardyce said on Newcastle's Web site.

''For me it's about every match Newcastle United play he is available to be selected. It's been a terrific recovery from one of the best surgeons in the world. Michael had a repair of the stomach and an abductor muscle last Friday and Saturday.'' Owen's Newcastle team mate Alan Smith will join up with the England squad, although Allardyce said he had ''a slight knee problem''.

REUTERS BJR RK1719

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