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Does Aston Villa Striker’s performance spell the end for Newcastle’s Michael Owen?

Gabriel Agbonlahor will not forget his England debut in a hurry. The Aston Villa striker played tremendously well, as he and his team-mates put on a classy performance to defeat Germany 2-1 in their own back yard. Like I said, not something he is going to forget is it?

The main attribute that Agbonlahor showed last night was pace, pace and more pace. Fabio Capello admitted that ‘Gabriel did very well’, and highlighted how he used his space by describing his movement as ‘excellent’. The 22-year-old caused Germany problems all night, and it was unfortunate that he didn’t cap his performance with a goal.

Something that now seems apparent after last night’s game is that Gabriel Agbonlahor has a long and potentially successful international career ahead of him. The football odds will certainly back him to be part of Capello’s squad when the World Cup qualification games come round again.

This is obviously encouraging for the future of the England team, as we have a talented young striker coming through the ranks. However, I can’t help thinking that Agbonlahor’s emergence pushes Michael Owen even further down the pecking order.

The Newcastle striker – who has scored 40 goals for the national team – hasn’t played for England since the dire friendly defeat to France back in March, and has consistently been overlooked by Capello. The England boss has often sighted Owen’s ‘lack of match fitness’ as the reason for not playing him.

Now, I have always been an Owen fan and when he was initially left out, I was angry. How can someone who has showed so much goalscoring ability throughout his career not even make it to the bench? However, after England won four qualifiers on the trot, people – including myself – started to forget about Owen’s omission.

This may seem unfair on someone who has given so much for England over the years, but the reality is that with England in such good form, is there really a way back for Owen? Throw in the fact that Jermaine Defoe, Wayne Rooney, Darren Bent and now Agbonlahor appear to be ahead of him in the pecking order, it doesn’t look good for the former Liverpool and Real Madrid man.

What is significant though is that he is still only 28. There is still time for him to force his way back in. Perhaps his international career isn’t over yet, he just has to work a lot, lot harder than he would have expected to get back into the fold.

By Thomas Rooney – A sports writer who blogs about football betting

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