LONDON-- Michael Owen was left out again by England coach Fabio Capello when the 23-strong squad for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Belarus was announced on Sunday.
Newcastle United's Michael Owen wipes his face during their English League Cup soccer match against Tottenham Hotspur at St James' Park in Newcastle September 24, 2008. [Agencies]
The Italian boss overlooked him for the second round of qualifiers for the 2010 tournament in South Africa, opting to stick with Wayne Rooney, Emile Heskey and Jermain Defoe and bring in the latter's Portsmouth teammate Peter Crouch, who has scored four in his last three games.
Manchester City winger Shaun Wright-Phillips return to the squad for the Group Six fixtures after good form with his club.
Owen, 28, has scored 40 goals in 89 appearances for England but has still not convinced Capello about his fitness this season despite playing in top form the last six games with Newcastle United. His last cap came against France in March.
Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole is ruled out with a foot injury after scoring for his club on Sunday while Blackburn Rovers goalkeeper Paul Robinson is also missing because of a calf strain.
England, who top the group after away wins against Andorra and Croatia, face Kazakhstan at Wembley on October 11 before facing Belarus in Minsk on 15.