Not Finished Yet, Owen’s Still Got Much More To Give

By on May 8, 2011

michael-owen-manchester-united

I’ll never forget the World Cup in 98. One main reason is because it was what opened my eyes to football. I had just turned six, unaware of the so-called beautiful game. I was ill from school one day and had to stay home, not knowing that it was the same day that England played Tunisia in the Group Stages. I was hooked immediately; I can vividly remember Paul Scholes grabbing a last minute goal in what ended a 2-0 victory for Glenn Hoddle’s men.

As the tournament progressed I found myself becoming more and more enchanted by this wonderful sporting event. The memory that runs deepest though is a goal I knew would be one of the finest I’d ever see. When Michael Owen picked the ball up against Argentina and went on to score that sensational solo effort, I had a new hero.

That night in Saint-Etienne ended with the Three Lions going out on penalties. I cried myself to sleep; reliving David Batty’s failed spot-kick over and over again in my head.

Yet, the football bug had infected me and for the rest of the year I was constantly in the park, always pretending to be Owen. My position instantly became up-front and I practised for hours to be able to finish like the then Liverpool front-man.

Nearly thirteen years later and to this day, Owen is still my favourite player of all-time. That’s why nowadays the constant criticism the striker gets still annoys me to the point of sheer confusion.

Only yesterday I read a comment stating that Owen is overrated. Overrated? When was the last time he was even given a rating by anyone. Simply, this season at Manchester United, the former England forward has not had the chance, and frankly, it’s a waste.

This week, Owen was linked to Derby County. Now, whilst that rumour is surely nonsense, a move away from Old Trafford is something I believe Owen needs if he is to prove himself to the doubters.

Not that he has anything to prove, his goal-record of just under a goal every two games speaks for itself, but the 31 year-old is such a determined character who wants nothing but to play week in, week out and is not the type of player to be happy sitting on the bench, taking his pay cheque.

Cue sarcastic sniggers from any Newcastle fans reading, but really, what exactly could Owen have done differently during his time at St. James’ Park? The man was constantly injured through no fault of his own and when he couldn’t save the Magpies from relegation, he left as a result of his contract expiring. Many say he didn’t repay the club after they stood by him through his injury troubles. Well if he didn’t care, then Owen wouldn’t have stayed the extra season he did, and under a chairman who once said he would happily “carry him back to Liverpool” himself, than the notion of the club wanting loyalty is quite hypocritical. Having left at the end of his contract, Owen felt his talents could still be offered at the highest level and he was right.

Owen is, and always will be, a predator. Given the chance, he’ll score. People always talk about him having lost “a yard of pace”. Well what may be lost in the legs, will never go in the mind and scoring a goal is something Owen knows better than most. His runs off-the-ball are world class. I challenge everyone to watch his movement during a match; it’s a lesson for all would-be strikers. Even in midweek against Schalke, Owen managed to time his run perfectly and find himself through on goal, before being stopped by a poor offside call. The time he was on the pitch? A mere 13 minutes.

I also draw your attention to last season, the Manchester derby. Who was keeping his head when everybody around him was losing their’s? Owen was, cleverly pulling away from the panicking City defence, staying onside when it was easy for lesser individuals to wander off, before the forward found space, took one touch and made his match-winning finish look easy. Let me remind you, that one-on-one came in the 96th minute of an intense derby, poised at 3-3, in-front of just over 75,000 fans. Not many watching would have kept their nerve.

One of my favourite goals I ever saw Owen score in the flesh was two seasons ago, against Portsmouth in a 3-0 victory for Newcastle. The striker stayed onside and somehow lifted the ball over David James as both the keeper and defender Sol Campbell came to challenge him. He ran away to the Sky Sports camera and I swear to this very day, he uttered the words “How the **** did I get that in?”

Because he’s a good striker, that’s how. This season has brought the emergence of Javier Hernandez, and the Mexican has really shone. It’s easy to draw comparisons between the two; both are clinical finishers with a born-instinct for goals. However, had Owen played the same amount of time as Hernandez this campaign, he would have scored equally as many goals.

The thing is, at United, Owen has the right team but the wrong time. As Owen’s second season at the Red Devils comes to an end, he is merely being used as an impact substitute when he could easily be a leading marksman for the majority of the sides in the Premier League. Obviously though, a good striker is useless without service and at United, Owen will never be short of opportunities to score. If he does move on in the summer, a team who are good at creating chances but not finishing them would be ideal for the Englishman.

So which club would be perfect? Well in my opinion, it’s Everton. David Moyes lacks one player from having a team ready to really push for European football again and that is a proven goalscorer at the highest level. Moyes’ team are certainly not lacking creativity, but have been starved of a prolific finisher this campaign. It could be time for Owen to return to the club perceived to be the one he supported as a boy and show everyone exactly what they’ve been missing.

This season, Owen has started a measly four games. How many goals has he scored in those starts? Three is your answer. Granted, they came against lower league sides in Southampton and Scunthorpe, but you can only score past what’s in-front of you.

Owen may well stay at United, and this year could be one that brings a first Premier League title and a Champions League medal into the forward’s trophy room.

Yet I can’t help but think the talent is wasted, and should the move come in the summer, watch out next season for the lethal striker I have come to adore.

Submitted by Football Friends

Best of the web

8 Comments

  1. Imran

    May 8, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Totally agree with you James. Owen back at Liverpool as back up and experienced head will be fantastic. YNWA

  2. Warren

    May 8, 2011 at 11:11 am

    What a load of rubbish. Since the Premiership started, 28 players have scored 20 league goals in a season. Owen is not one of them. Real Liverpool fans would not welcome him back and he would struggle to get on our bench.

  3. Larsen Smith

    May 8, 2011 at 11:25 am

    Definitely has talent left in him! If anyone who can cheer him up, it would the lfc fans, but he might have to take a lot of banter before being loved by them! I never mind him play in lfc shirt! One question is that can he be in the starting 11 for all the 38 matches? Definitely not so! Again which makes him an impact player, than a starter!

    YNWA

  4. Denise Williams

    May 8, 2011 at 11:28 am

    One of the best articles I have read for a long time. I too am a big fan of Owen however I seem to be being shouted down by so called Liverpool fans and rather moronic Newcastle fans. The media have a constant campaign to destroy Owen. People call him overrated. What a joke he is in fact the most underrated player I have ever known. Despite all the ridicule he is still the last English winner of the Ballon D’or. The last one before him well you have to go back a lot of years to Kevin Keegan. However I well remember how on the day that was anounced the Liverpool Supporters club chose to snub Owen in their awards plus the FA also snubbed him by not even nominating him for the World Player of the Year in stead the Nominated Beckham a man who had not achieved half of what Owen achieved in 2001. Also he was ignored by the PFA. Small wonder Owen has little time for the organisation. Bearing all this in mind how can anyone call him overrated? Very difficult from what I can see. Actually Owen has never been given the recognition he deserves. The press and public were quick to believe the rubbish spouted by Dennis the Menace Capello. Capello claimed Owen was only a goalscorer and was not a team player. Owen has never ever been just a goalscorer and Capello’s opinion was in fact based purely on spite because Owen scored the goals that knocked his precious AS Roma out of the EUFA Cup in 2001. Personally I am sick of all the jealousy and backbiting that Owen is subjected to. When I think of all he has done for his country it leaves a very nasty taste in the mouth.

  5. Jack

    May 8, 2011 at 11:48 am

    I too remember that goal against Argentina. It sent me over the moon. Why? Because I loved Owen at that time. The following morning I was in heaven. I couldn’t give 2 hoots about England being knowcked out. All I could think about was my favourite player scoring a most wonderful goal that would be talked about around the world. At work I kept talking about it to anyone and everyone. And who can forget the 2 winning goals he scored against Arsenal in the FA cup final? Alas I am one of those fans who are still bitter about him leaving for Real and worse going to United. Owen wasn’t just any Liverpool player. He came up through the youth system. Some of the comments he made when he went to OT were also irritating. I’d like to thank him for some truly happy, wonderful and magic moments but in the end it got soured abit due to his lack of grace.

  6. Warren

    May 8, 2011 at 1:00 pm

    The facts are in 10 seasons or so in the PL, his best return is 19 goals. Even Frank Lampard has scored 20 from midfield. The most over rated player of our generation. Add smugness, no loyalty, completely oblivious to anyone who doesn’t think he is wonderful, all adds up to a rich man with no ethics. I hope he rots in the Mancs reserves.

  7. Fitzy

    May 8, 2011 at 7:31 pm

    What a load of b*llocks I’m reading here, owen stayed loyal to newcastle blah blah blah… U need to read back in history lad and consider some things. I’m a lfc fan and I was guttered when Owen left, one for the fact he was a top striker who got u 20 goals a season and 2 we got only £8m and Nunez when at the time Owen was worth £30m for his goal record. He went to real Madrid, fair enough, why he didnt get signed on long term contract so at least we got the money for him I don’t know, but anyways he goes to win things, fair enough, he didn’t really play that much, but his goal record over there was excellent when he actually played.. Then this is when the story turns shower and u realise he’s a piece of sh*t and is only in it for the money. (he was already worth £30m) Liverpool put in a bid for him and Newcastle outbid us… Fair enough, but Benitez had spoke to him when he came for talks to bide his time, be patient, we’ll get you, but you have to be patient… He goes to Newcastle for talks, and signs for £105k per week 5 year deal. His excuse for not waiting for the 11th hour and going back to his old club, ‘I was worried about my England place’?? His England place under Sven. Two players in the England team that would never have to worry about their England place was Beckham and Owen. So reading between the lines, the greedy b*stard signed for the money. Newcastle who weren’t in the top 6, or Liverpool who’ve just won th champions league under new manager and going places?? Wants to win things? More like who pays the most. Even when he left he had a host of clubs that were interested, signed for the mancs, the one club u don’t sign for when you’ve played for Liverpool, but does so anyway. Been nothing but a bench warmer and he’s happy to do that. So he has time for his horses and getting pictures taken of him on twitter.. He’s going to win a premier league medal and he’s done f*ck all to earn it. If he was a footballer who was still hungry for the game and wanted to play he’d move to a lower club and I reckon Aston Villa will sign him if houillier remains in charge and he will probably be injury prone and probably play no more than 20 games in a season… As they say the grass isn’t always greener on the otherside which Owen has found out, it’s just that he’s not interested when he’s earned f*cking millions being injured and sitting on the bench…

  8. Denise Williams

    May 9, 2011 at 11:40 am

    Fitzy you talk about loyalty well loyalty works both ways. FACT Owen ceased to owe Liverpool fans loyalty the day you chose to send him death threats and when you chanted Fowlers name when Owen had single handedly won you three points. Also you make appalling comments about injuries well Gerrard has been injured a lot however unlike you I feel sympathy as no player likes being injured and no player deserves injuries. As regards to earning a Championship medal for heavens sake football is a squad game not just eleven players. However I think your real problem is extreme jealousy. One other thing Owen can hardly be labelled a Mercenary as he could have earned more money at these host of other clubs than what he gets at Man Utd. Also do yopu think Gerrard plays for nothing? Hardly he cannot afford too he like Owen has a family to support. Don’t bother to write on here if you are incapable of sensible discussion without the need for swearing.

    Warren you talk about smugness well who are the most vile and arrogant fans in the world look at yourself. As for overrated well he was alright when he was baling you out of the mess time after time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *