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Michael Owen ruled out for rest of season

Owen pulls up in Carling Cup final

Manchester United striker Michael Owen will not play again this season after pulling his hamstring in the 2-1 Carling Cup final win over Aston Villa.

The 30-year-old, who scored United's equaliser at Wembley, pulled up while chasing a pass in the first half.

The injury all but ends Owen's hopes of playing for England at the World Cup.

"It is more serious than we thought. I think the heavy pitch at Wembley played some part, but it's also bad luck," said United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

Owen, who will have one year remaining on his two-year contract at Old Trafford at the end of this season, was initially expected to be out for only a few weeks, but will now undergo surgery on Monday.


He said: "I have loved every minute of my first campaign with Manchester United and have already enjoyed some memorable moments.

"I am determined to come back at the start of next season in peak condition."

Owen, who has scored 40 goals in 89 games for England, admitted in February that he was not expecting to be included in coach Fabio Capello's 23-man World Cup squad for South Africa.

He last played for the national side in March 2008 in a 1-0 friendly defeat by France, but has not featured in a squad since.

"It's been a long time since I was in the England squad. You never give up but it's probably a long shot in racing terms," Owen told BBC Sport last month.

And that call seems even less likely now, considering Capello said he would only recall Owen if he was playing regularly for United.

Owen, who has struggled with groin, ankle, thigh, hernia, metatarsal and knee ligament injuries in the past, had not missed a training session this season following his surprise move to Old Trafford on a reported pay-as-you-play deal in the summer.

But the 2001 European footballer of the year found starting chances limited, with 20 of his 31 appearances this season coming as substitute.

However, he has scored nine goals in all competitions, including a hat-trick in the Champions League win against Wolfsburg and an injury-time winner in September's Manchester derby before Sunday's equaliser in the Carling Cup final.

see also
Aston Villa 1-2 Man Utd
28 Feb 10 |  League Cup
Owen not expecting World Cup call
22 Feb 10 |  Man Utd
Ferguson offers Owen little hope
03 Jan 10 |  Premier League
Owen hat-trick delights Ferguson
09 Dec 09 |  Man Utd
Owen completes switch to Man Utd
03 Jul 09 |  Man Utd
Capello offers Owen England hope
07 Feb 08 |  Internationals
Owen completes move to Newcastle
31 Aug 05 |  Newcastle
Owen unveiled by Real
14 Aug 04 |  Liverpool

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