Sam on Nobby / Owen
Speaking at a news conference ahead of the Villa game this weekend Sam was quick to clarify the positions of both Michael Owen, who missed training, and Nobby Solano, an alleged target for Portsmouth. He said:
'Nobby Solano has a similar problem to Kieron in that he wants to be nearer to his family and if that needs to be resolved then it could be the case that he leaves the club. At the moment there has been no offer and I don't particularly want him to leave, but we will discuss these problems and see how things work out.
Nobby's had a great pre-season and was disappointed not to start at Bolton last week. He is a smashing lad and I've particularly enjoyed listening to his band and I would be sad to see him go if that was to happen.
Michael is still short of match practice but Michael Owen is Michael Owen, he's a goal-scorer. We can say he's fit from the injury now, but we wouldn't say he's 100 per cent match-fit. Michael is relieved to have got through two matches with no reaction to the specific injury. If he stays fit, there are games coming up for the first team and the reserves, behind-closed-doors games and England matches, all in a short period of time.
It could be the same for Emre. If they're fit they'll get called up by their countries. There's not much you can do about it. I make people aware of the situation with them, wherever they may be playing, and if they do go and play for their countries, I hope they will look after them.
I don't know Michael well enough to say when he'll be fully match-fit. I have to look at it day by day, game by game, and use the knowledge of the backroom staff. Like every player, he's going to say he's fit before he is. I have to stop all players being impatient when they've been injured.'