After being out of action for nearly 10 months, Owen is set to captain the England B squad against Albania Friday night. Due to the suspension of Wayne Rooney and the injury to Andrew Johnson, a good performance could net the 27-year-old Owen a shock recall for to the England first team. Meanwhile, speculation is mounting that Owen will leave Newcastle this summer, a club he's played for just 14 times in two years due to long-term injuries. Club chairman Freddy Shepherd recently called on the forward to pledge his future to the club. Conspicuously, Owen has not done so; rumor has it both Manchester United and Liverpool are interested in purchasing the player's $18 million buyout clause.
However, Owen's return is likely to be overshadowed by the recall of Beckham to the England squad. Beckham was told nine months ago that England would be moving "in a new direction" by Coach Steve McClaren, but his fantastic form for Real Madrid has all but convinced the British press that McClaren will recall the 32-year-old when he announces the squad on Saturday. Real coach Fabio Capello agrees: "I can't understand how a player who is playing so well can be left out of any national side," he said on Thursday.