Is it the end for Michael Owen?

by Ashleigh Rose

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

What’s next for the boy wonder?

I’ve had a running bet with a friend of mine that Michael Owen will go on and break Bobby Charlton’s goal-scoring record for England. For as I can remember I have backed up my opinion and defended Owen, despite what ever adversity has faces him. But after Sunday, even I, an ardent Owen fan feel like it could really be the end for England’s fourth top scorer.

Since Owen burst onto the scene with a goal on his Premier League debut against Wimbledon, aged 17 I have followed his career. To me he had everything – freighting pace, quality finish with both feet and despite his lack of height, decent in the air too. He was the striker the 15 year-old me would have loved to become. I can still remember the moment he danced through the Argentine defence to score THAT goal, or raced past the famous Arsenal defence to win the FA Cup on his own like it was yesterday. Bottom line Owen was quite simply world class for both club and country – after all we are talking about the only English player in my lifetime to be named European Footballer of the Year. But while the goals have always flourished for Liverpool, England and even Real Madrid, Owen’s career has been blighted by a succession of injuries. Starting with the infamous first hamstring injury against Leeds in 1999, similar setbacks with both his hamstring and the knee he hurt at the 2006 World Cup have seen Owen sadly become a shadow of his former self. The pace once feared throughout Europe has now all but gone and to his credit he has changed his game to suit the player he now is. Of course this has been to little benefit to his current club Newcastle. Since being convinced by Alan Shearer to sign for the Toon in 2005 Owen has played just 77 games for the Magpies, and true he’s still managed 30 goals in that time but St Jame’s Park has never really seen the Owen they paid £16 million for. Of course Owen also seems to be in the international wilderness too. Despite still being one of England’s top goal-scorers, Fabio Capello hasn’t picked the striker for a squad for over a year, and the likes of Carlton Cole, Jermaine Defoe and Gabriel Agbonlahor are now ahead of him in the pecking order. I for one have campaigned that he should always at least be in the squad because he remains the only true match-winner amongst England’s frontline but Capello will take some convincing to bring him back.

And now just when it seems like it cant get any worse for Michael, his club manager seems to have given up on him too. Not just any club manager either but someone who until this Sunday had always believed in him. Choosing to play Lovenkrands ahead of him against Liverpool and only bring him off the bench with ten minutes to play.

To me Owen looks like someone who is shockingly short of confidence, something which worryingly he’s never suffered from before and someone who’s slowly falling out of love with his surroundings. He may have spent a career of proving people wrong but even this could be tough to come back from for the former boy wonder. With his contract up at the end of the season, a fresh start maybe just what Owen needs, and maybe someone like Martin O’Neil or Harry Redknapp could get Owen back fit and scoring again, after all form is temporary class is permanent – at least that’s what all Owen fans like myself will be hoping.

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  • Darren

    I think he’d do a great job at West Brom in the Championship

  • Tef1on

    Darren I think you are right… But maybe the move would be too late. If Owen went to Championship level for 1 season a few years back it might have had a positive effect on these last few years of his career.

    I cannot see him ever wearing the England shirt again… The talent which is ahead of him is too great, then again many said the same about Beckham.

  • Ash

    ‘The talent ahead of him is too great’ are you serious? Defoe, Crouch, Agbonlahor, Bent and Cole will never ever reach the level of Owen and even now I would have him in the squad ahead of that misrable lot.

  • Craig Denton

    Well, as long as Michael Owen starts playing well again eh? Cos as long as he plays well, who cares if he helps Newcastle, since we’ve only paid his astronomical wages for the last 4 years whilst he has done the square root of **** all to help the cause. I hope he does **** off to Villa or Spurs.

  • Tef1on

    @ Ash

    10 English Strikers in better Form (last 2 seasons) than Owen

    1. Rooney
    2. Cole
    3. Ashton
    4. Agbonlahor
    5. Crouch
    6. Bent
    7. Defoe
    8. Heskey
    9. Johnson
    10. Walcott

    Not to mention the U21 Squads of

    James Vaughn
    Sylvan Ebanks Blake
    Matt Derbyshire
    Dexter Blackstock
    Cameron Jerome
    Ishmail Miller
    Luke Moore

    And I know these have little experience… but Give them time and they will be ahead of Owen in England’s pecking order!

    Owens time has come, in 6 months time most these U21 players will be in the Premiership while Owen is sluming it in the Championship with the Geordies. He is half the player he used to be! The lad is burnt out and is seriously struggling for a place at a team who are 18th in the table? They are 18th for a reason… their players are not good enough!

  • Ash

    Ok over the last two seasons then…

    1. Rooney – Goes without saying
    2. Cole – was going nowhere until Zola come in so thats half a season
    3. Ashton – Pretty much injured for the last two seasons
    4. Agbonlahor – Has come on leaps and bounds and is Owens biggest threat
    5. Crouch – Different type of player and would be included along with Owen in a squad
    6. Bent – No way, can finish but lacks everything else as top international
    7. Defoe – Had so many chances with England, but not good enough IMO.
    8. Heskey – Like crouch different type to Owen
    9. Johnson – Straws? Clucthing?
    10. Walcott – If he didnt have pace, he’d be average and is more a midfielder anyway.

    Not to mention the U21 Squads of

    James Vaughn – Been injured
    Sylvan Ebanks Blake – Great prospect but has been playing CHAMPIONSHIP football!
    Matt Derbyshire – So good Big Sam packed him off to Greece and played Jason Roberts
    Dexter Blackstock – I’m a QPR fan and I love Dex but he’s leagues away from any of this lot
    Cameron Jerome – Never fufilled potential
    Ishmail Miller – Been injured most of the season!
    Luke Moore – Have you seen where West Brom are and why they are down there?!!??

    None of the above are as good as Owen was at the same ages and it Owen gets out of Newcastle and gets motivated he could well be proving people wrong again. I hope so anyway.

  • Darren

    if you had to judge Owen on his last 2 seasons and without his reputation then Telfon is spot on, he has been average at best.

    He peaked to early, just like Fowler before him. Who knows, Rooney might burn up, I can definitely seeing him playing centre at some point in his career, I think he’d be class too

  • Ash

    So we’ll forget last season when Owen came back into the England team alongside Heskey and scored against Russia and Israel? That’s more England goals then everyone else mentioned above bar Rooney, Walcott and Defoe.

    How can he be spot on and say strikers in the Championship are better then Owen? Its a lower standard of football! I’ve watched Blackstock week in week out for two seasons and I know who I’d rather have in my team!

    And Ashton and Vaghn have been injured more then him! He hasnt even got a point let alone spot on Daz!

  • Darren

    Owen is finished Ash, he’s lost his main attribute which was his pace. It’s sad watching him play for Newcastle, not only does he get no service he actually looks out of his depth!

    Anyone could score for England given a run of games. Look at the Bus Conductor, (Darius Vassell) he had a little run in the side and scored a few goals, are you saying he’s world class too?

  • Ash

    Vassell has 6 goals across two years, so no I’m not saying your world class just cos you’ve scored a few goals for England. My point was Owen over the last two seasons has still scored goals at the highest level (international) while everyone else bar three on that list havent.

    I agree Owen is not the player he was, that was my original point, and it looks like he’s at his lowest ebb. But I do think put him in a team that will give him service and the goals will flow again, maybe not like they used to but goals all the same.

    (Interesting note on Vassell – he’s never lost a game in which he’s scored in!)

  • Darren

    Vassell for England and let him take all the free kicks, corners and Penalties!!

  • Tef1on

    “But I do think put him in a team that will give him service and the goals will flow”

    Put me in a team with service and I’ll bang them in too, should i be picked?

    Saying that… Give Crouch and Heskey a go when becks is on and they’ll bag goals.

    I’m not saying they are better, i’m saying that in 6 months when all these lads are playing Premiership they will deserve a shout. Owen is playing along side one of the best (in my opinion) wingers in the premiership (Jonas) and he hasn’t provided Owen with goals.

    Hell I can tell you one player who is better than Owen and deserves a shout for international duty… Signing of the season James Beattie.

    Owen this season has scored 8 from 30? Thats an average of 10 less that his Liverpool days. Crouch has 15 from 35 this season and Kevin Davies who somehow got missed off… 11 from 32 see where I’m going with this? And do you honestly think Pompey and Bolton have better service than the Toon?

  • Tef1on

    Oh and Crouches England record speaks for itself… 12 goals in 14 starts?

  • Patrick

    I agree with Darren and Tef1on. Owen is done and I’m sorry to say Ash, but he’s not going to come back. Even bent ‘Arry is not dumb enough to take a punt on him. The sad truth is that he’s more interested in the ponies and his properties now. The injuries have taken their toll. The fact is that however well he played and however much he bagged at Real, he was never given a fair crack. That led to him losing a bit of love for the game.

    I think after that he only ever went to Newcastle for the cash and his performances there have not changed my mind. Sure, he’s had injuries but he’s never really looked the player he was at Liverpool or as sharp off the bench as he was at Real. Granted, the service at St James’ is not quite the same and yeah, he has done a job for England unlike a lot of the fellas on the list above but unfortunately he is finished now and he should probably hang up his boots before people start to genuinely pity him.

  • Patrick

    p.s. great article by the way.

  • Darren

    I really rate Matt Derbyshire, he’s a quality finisher, but somehow Big Sam prefers Diouf, god knows why. I don’t know what he’s doing at Olympiacos, does anyone know how he’s getting on?

    If he played for a decent club I reckon he’s get 20 goals per season

  • Darren

    just looked him up on Wikkepeda

    check out his record out at Olympiacos

    This boy is class

  • Tef1on

    8 in 13 and this to go with it

    “On 2 May 2009, Derbyshire played a pivotal role in the Greek Cup final against cross-city rivals AEK Athens. With Olympiakos 2-0 down, Derbyshire was brought on at half-time. Three minutes after coming on, Derbyshire scored for Olympiakos. The game then went to 2-2 before AEK Athens had seemingly scored the winning goal in stoppage time. However, with the last touch of the game, Derbyshire popped up to head in the equaliser in the sixth minute of added time, bringing the score to 3-3. Olympiakos went on to win the match 15-14 on penalties, and Derbyshire was awarded Man of the match award for his efforts.”

    I never understood why he went to Greece… what made him go? and to Greece of all places? I think its a bizarre move but one which went well! I tip this guy to be at a top 4 club within 2 years.

  • Darren

    he hardly gets a mention yet when ever he comes on as a sub he always seem to score. I predicted he’d be the new Michael Owen a few years back and I stand by it

    Dexy is a big fan too

  • Patrick

    Why did he go to Greece? He’ll get Champs League with Olymiakos next year. At Rovers he may well have been in the Championship (though Newcastle might save Blackburn from that fate). Also the football is obviously much more suited to him than under Allardyce. It’s a new culture and unlike most English footballers he doesn’t seem afraid to adapt to a new culture. The weather and the food is better and most importantly the woman are far hotter than in Blackburn. Good luck to the lad. I hope he continues to do well and gets a move to an even bigger club.

  • Tef1on

    Patrick, He’s only on loan… So he’ll be back at Dullburn in a couple of weeks

  • Patrick

    Gutted. Ah well, cheers for the heads up.

  • Sam

    Matt Derbyshire “at a top 4 club within 2 years” – i’ll hold you to that (unless you mean outside the prem – and he has already done that with Olympiakos). “And new Michael Owen” – do you mean over the hill???

  • Darren

    I mean as in boy wonder!


  • Sam

    Im guessing that means Mark My Words…coz i typed it into google under internet abbreviations and it came up with Making Me Wet….oh dear. Moving on, Derbyshire has always been something of an anomoly. He goes about his business quietly but does get a decent amount of goals in return. As far as Owen – he badly needs a fresh start but it could all be too little too late.

  • Ash

    Glad to see I’ve caused such a debate!

    I rate Derbyshire yeah, think he’s got too much quality to fit into Big Sams bruising style of football, not sure he’s good enough for top four or he’ll ever be in Owens league (the Owen of old that is!).

    I’m still hoping for an Owen return but even I am now doubting we’ll ever see it. And how is Jonas was of the best wingers in the league????

  • Matt Quinn

    Ash- interesting how you sum up Darren Bent….

    “6. Bent – No way, can finish but lacks everything else as top international”

    Thats exactly what ive always felt about Owen… he lacks all the qualities required to be a top international. Poor touch, awareness, strength etc.

    Good article tho.

  • Ash

    I cant even begin to put Bent in Owens league. On a current status there isnt much between them granted but overall Bent can dream of being anywhere near as good as Owen.

    Just a highlight the things he lacks with some examples;

    Poor touch – England v Albania 2001
    Three days after scoring a hat-trick in Germany(!), scored the winner with a first touch finish of amazing class.

    Awarerness – Euro 2004
    Go back and watch Rooney’s goals in that tournament and see who the provider was. Ah Mr Owen!

    Strength- FA Final 2001
    ‘The Michael Owen Cup Final’ watch how he shrugs off the famous Arsenal defence to win it for a below par Liverpool.

    And they are just three examples and not the only time he’s lacked any of those attributes. The disapointing thing is that they all in the past and the current Owen isnt the same player.

  • Darren

    Ash, are you Sven in disguise?

  • Tef1on

    Ash you’re talking about 2001-2004. Sorry lad but were in 2009. His time is over

  • Tef1on

    Also want to state that no one has ever said Bent is as good as Owen

  • Tef1on

    Also want to state that no one has ever said Bent is as good as Owen WAS but he certainly is better than Owen right now.

    (sorry about double post)

  • Darren

    we obviously do still care about Owen as look at how much debate the article has got.
    I know it’s all in the past but that goal against the Argies still sends shivers down my spine, it’s definitely my all time favourite World Cup goal!

  • Ash

    Mine too Daz mine too mate.

  • Darren

    I didn’t see the game last night but I heard that when Owen went off Newcastle were a completely different side!

  • Tef1on

    Owen went off and his replacement scored within 90 seconds. He was dire… Seemed to give up on balls which he could win far too easily!

  • Ash

    That’s a bit harsh, he was unlucky with the flick header and he created space for midfield runners. Not his fault his replacement scored within 90 seconds of coming on is it! Whose to say Owen wouldnt have buired that chance had he been on the pitch.

  • Darren

    Ash mate, is someone paying you to resurrect Owen’s career? Are you his agent? What’s the commission if he signs for a top 4 side?

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