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Despite the previous games under Sheepteeth McClaren being less than carnivals of football I`ve got to admit that watching both the Israel and Russia games has been a breath of fresh air. The inclusion of the likes of Barry and especially Micah Richards have perked up what looked a very stale side and the fact I managed to sit through 180 minutes without stifling yawns and switching over to the Scotland match is testament to an improved performance.

Despite decent performances from a number of the England players, the undoubted man of the match was our very own England`s Michael Owen who rattled home two goals to move to 40 goals and within 10 of holding the record outright for himself. As commentators so succinctly pointed out - imagine if he hadn`t had virtually the last two years out.

Owen`s first was a tidy take down and finish from a Barry cross that the defenders all missed whilst his second was a canny laces through the ball effort from a Heskey flick on. Neither was quite as good as his spun finish outside the box against Israel but all three were a microcosm of the ability to score goals we are desperate to see on Tyneside. With Derby up next and a national TV audience for the lad to keep performing for, hopefully it`ll be more of the same at Pride Park.

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Writer:Ross Molyneux
Date:Thursday September 13 2007
Time: 9:53AM

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