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26/02/2010 08:42

Papers: Owen to Africa?

Owen not yet out of Africa
Fabio Capello will show the importance he places on Owen Hargreaves’ World Cup fitness by holding summit talks with the Manchester United midfielder - even though he has not spoken face to face with either Wayne Bridge or Ashley Cole. Hargreaves has not kicked a ball in earnest since September 2008 after being plagued with knee problems. But Capello sees the Canadian-born former Bayern Munich man as such an important potential part of his World Cup squad that he will break his normal rules on keeping distance between himself and his players by scheduling a sit-down with Hargreaves this weekend. Hargreaves is expected to travel to London with the United squad for Sunday’s Carling Cup Final at Wembley and can easily travel from there to England’s base at The Grove hotel near Watford.
Martin Lipton, Mirror

Rio Ferdinand has been given permission to meet Fabio Capello next week and be officially anointed England's new captain. Sir Alex Ferguson says Rio can join Fabio Capello's squad next week, even though a back injury has ruled him out of Wednesday's friendly against Egypt at Wembley. "That's no problem for me," he said. "He won't be training here anyway. That's entirely up to Fabio, he can do that. It's no problem for me." Sir Alex has said Ferdinand is unlikely to be fit to face AC Milan on 10 March.

A number of the daily newspapers report on the suggestion that the FA Cup could primarily become a midweek competition to make it "more relevant" to younger fans. FA chief executive Ian Watmore thinks the competition's lost lustre could be recaptured by playing under floodlights, citing midweek replays as similar to the magic of Champions League nights.

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