Michael Owen is in a race against time to be fit for England’s World Cup qualifier against Wales on Saturday after he was injured during his home debut for Real Madrid.

Owen was replaced on 52 minutes of Real’s 1-0 defeat by Deportivo on Sunday with what coach Mariano Garcia Remon described as a “slight muscle problem.”

“Rather than forcing it, we thought it was best to rest him and put on Fernando Morientes.”

Owen’s starting place against Wales was already in djeopardyoubt because of his relative inactivity since joing Madird from Liverpool in the summer. His start in place of the injured Ronaldo was only his second of the season.

England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson has already said he will monitor Owen closely in training this week.

Wayne Rooney’s return to fitness combined with Jermain Defoe’s impressive performance in last month’s win over Poland, has led to suggestions that Owen may be dropped for the forthcoming internationals.