Hamstring rules Owen out of WC

MANCHESTER: Michael Owen will be out injured until the end of the season after learning he needs surgery to repair the hamstring injury that forced him out of last week’s League Cup final.

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson revealed on Friday that the injury suffered by the striker had been more serious than initially thought, definitively ending any lingering hope Owen had of making England’s squad for the World Cup in June and July.

Owen limped out of Sunday’s 2-1 win over Aston Villa at Wembley just before half-time and will have an operation on Monday. “It is a terrible blow for the lad,” Ferguson said. “It is more serious than we thought.” Owen’s career has been blighted by hamstring problems with the recurring injuries depriving him of the blistering pace that enabled him, at 18, to score one of the all-time great World Cup goals, for England against Argentina at France 98.

His latest setback will inevitably fuel concern that, at 30, he has reached the end of the road, but he insisted that he was looking forward to returning, fully fit, next season. “Unfortunately the specialist says I will miss the rest of the season,” he said. “I have loved every minute of my first campaign with United and have already enjoyed some memorable moments. I am determined to come back at the start of next season in peak condition.”