Michael Owen’s summer switch to Manchester United will have delighted Fabio Capello and looks like it could be the catalyst to England international football success in South Africa next summer.
Quite rightly in many people's eyes, Capello has not selected Owen since being appointed as England boss and has always stated that he would only pick players who were playing regularly for their club.
The former Liverpool man endured a nightmare spell at Newcastle, with injuries restricting his time on the pitch, and his stint on Tyneside came to an end when the Magpies were relegated last season.
Despite Owen’s former glories, Capello stuck to his plan and picked in-form players who were impressing in the Premier League and that handed chances to Emile Heskey, Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe.
But despite each of those three doing enough to stake a claim for a place, many still see Owen as the man who can end England’s 44-year wait for a major trophy.
No-one though, including Owen himself, could have thought that he would be joining the champions this summer, but the shock free transfer move looks to have reignited his World Cup dream.
Not only will playing for United bring him more to the attentions of the Three Lions leader, but it will also see him team up with his potential strike partner at international level – Wayne Rooney.
Old Trafford colleague Gary Neville certainly feels it couldn’t have worked out any better for Owen, saying: “Anybody who plays for Manchester United over a season has a great chance of getting into an international team, no matter whether it be England or any other country.”
The 2010 tournament is realistically Owen’s last chance of World Cup success and someone with 40 goals in 89 appearances for his country can’t be ignored.
The striker’s last goal for England was, amazingly, way back in September 2007, but his goal-poaching instinct will certainly make Capello’s squad even more feared if, as expected, they qualify for South Africa.