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Is Michael Owen Past It?

The question is simple. Can Michael Owen still perform at the highest level? While many would say no, he’s past it, he’s too injury prone and when he is on the pitch he doesn’t do anything anyway, I tend to disagree. Yes Michael Owen is injury prone, it’s been well documented. Over the course of his career he has had some nasty injuries as well as picking up a succession of niggles and strains. But generally he has been unfortunate. The prime example of bad luck was sustaining severe knee ligament damage while on international duty at the 2006 World Cup when a minute into England’s group encounter with Sweden, he awkwardly twisted his knee and subsequently found himself sidelined for the best part of a year.

Ever since he first injured his hamstring in 1999 while playing for Liverpool, Owen has had injury after injury that has plagued his career. But here is why I still think Owen isn’t past it. When fit, Owen scores to put it simply. And I’m not just talking about the occasional tap in against weak opposition. When it matters Owen scores big goals in big games both domestically and internationally. I still think he is the best choice up front for England and think he would be worth taking a gamble on when his Newcastle contract expires in the summer.

Owen is the type of striker that is fast becoming extinct. He is a poacher, nothing more. For much of the game, he will be quiet and won’t really contribute a lot to general build up play in the way that modern strikers do such as Wayne Rooney. However, when the ball gets played into dangerous areas, he comes alive and is far more effective than most. One reason that he is effective is because he actually gets himself into the six yard box rather than still hanging around on the edge of the box or further away, still admiring the pass he made moments before.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think Rooney is a world class player but he doesn’t possess that knack for goal scoring that Owen does. In fact, very few players do. Ruud Van Nistelrooy and Filippo Inzaghi are other examples of strikers who thrive on scoring goals and little else. Like the aforementioned, Owen is a potent finisher who has proved time and time again that he only needs half a yard to punish a defence. Where as many strikers rely on their physical stature or blistering pace to get themselves a goal scoring opportunity, Owen’s sharpness of mind puts him one step ahead. This is the reason that many of his goals come from headers, because he reads the situation and gets across his marker before they’ve even had time to think.

From an England point of view, I think that Owen is a must for South Africa 2010, providing England qualify. It appears that Fabio Capello is uncertain about Owen and needs more convincing but I think he is undoubtedly the best option.  Rooney and Heskey seem to be certainties for the squad, as does Walcott but considering the latter is more of a winger now, that would probably leave open two more places for strikers. Out of the possible contenders for the places, Owen’s goal scoring record outweighs the others by far.  He has forty goals for his country in eighty nine appearances and has scored in every knock out game for England that he has played in. Someone like Defoe can score goals against weak nations such as Kazakhstan but is he really going to cause the Portuguese any problems? Even coming off the bench, I think when in desperate need of a goal Owen has to be the choice. In a tight match where chances are scarce, left foot, right foot or head, Owen is the person I would want to see presented with the opportunity to score as he is the most likely of all English forwards to put it in the net. To summarise, I think Owen is a long way off being ‘past it’ and as he has proved so many times before, those who write him off can do so at their peril.

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  1. kay

    June 3, 2009 at 6:54 pm

    i dont think owen is past it at all he is just unfortunate with his fittness. and made a few wrong turns in career choices like going to real madrid, they had good strikers allready and the result was he wasnt played enough, he was only mainly played as a sub and when he went their he was on top of his game. but he wasnt played so i think his fittness suffered. he should of stayed in the premiership, liverpool really but not sure thata was possible, but i think if he stayed in prem he wouldnt be at newcastle and wouldnt be in such a sinking team! he dosent get as many opportnites to score for them because their team is all out of place and crap to be honest, ad if he wasnt in such a sinking team his confideence would be up and he would be playing better, ok not when he was injured, but just look at his track record!! and like said when he is fit he score simple as, i think get himself into a good team coz not qas if he going to play in the championship build his fittness up and who knows by next year hopefully he has caught fabios attention. he is defo not a write off though. remember when people said beckham was?

  2. Jordan Nicholson

    March 9, 2009 at 2:19 pm

    I have always liked Michael Owen as he is a model professional and has natural ability on the football pitch. Of course Cappello should pick him. He is certainly NOT past it. The thing about Owen is that when he is fit for maybe 10 games, He is consistantly good for those 10 games – whereas Rooney or Ronaldo are not. This is why I disagree with Ronaldo being World Player of the year and not Gerrard or Messi. Also, WHY ISN’T JAMES MILNER IN THE FULL ENGLAND SQUAD.

  3. Paul Bestall

    February 16, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    Capello hasn’t picked Owen because he knew he wasn’t fit, isn’t fit and it’s doubtful that Owen will ever play for England again under him.
    It’s a shame, but I lot of people wrote Owen off as soon as he joined Newcastle and it’ll be very interesting to see where he ends up in the summer as I don’t believe he’ll be at Newcastle for next preseason.

  4. Salai Owen

    February 16, 2009 at 4:59 pm

    I think Fabio Capello was smacking himself over his faces when England face Spain friendly recently where England have no striker in big game except Owen.
    Owen should partner with Heskey rather than Rooney in attack. Even in Newcastle, Owen s the only goalscorer in every game.
    Capello should avoid his personal ill-feeling with Owen if he really want to bring England football glory in 2010 WCup.

  5. Cxarsl

    February 16, 2009 at 10:54 am

    i dont agree that he is past it. i think owen still can be the best striker in the world on his day..
    as far as injuries are concerned it’s a matter of time .. i think he will get out of it soon.. and still he is the best striker in England.

  6. gent shahiqi

    February 16, 2009 at 9:55 am

    Michael Owen a past.NO Really no he has scored 10 goals this sesson.And fully fit Michael Owen is One of the best Finishers in the World.

  7. KIN

    February 16, 2009 at 9:07 am

    I konw many ppl would say yes..
    BUT FOR ME!!!i dont think MICHAEL OWEN was past… He still can perform at the highest level…Before his injury, he played so well in Newcastle recently matches…SCORED MANY GOAL for newcastle… Owen just need time to rest for his injured nightmare in WORLD CUP against sweden… Nowadays, england doesn’t hav any good striker beside rooney and owen so ENGLAND still need Owen and of course, BECKHAM to help england to lift up the WORLD CUP TROPHY…
    I trust OWEN can prove his fitness and abilty to get himself in ENGLAND SQUAD again..SOMEDAY!!!

  8. Bishopville Red

    February 15, 2009 at 10:15 pm

    Owen was past it quite a while ago. Traditionally, he has found most joy by using his speed and running onto balls in the channels. With his plethora of hamstring injuries, coupled with his relatively poor linking play, his “one trick pony” status has made him vulnerable. Now, with a bunged knee, he’s relegated to poacher, and he plays for a team that can’t get forward consistently due to a lack of linking play from their featured striker. The boy’s living a Catch-22.


  9. Thomas

    February 15, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    The training where? For the England Squad? Or in the Prem…seems like there are plenty of other strikers who ply their trade in the top flight and do fine on International duty.

    Owen is simply an injury prone player.

    HIs strike rate for England, Liverpool, Real Madrid, and Newcastle is very good…except he can’t be lied upon to be fit. He’s only appeared like 60 times since 2005

  10. Patrick

    February 15, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    He plays for Newcastle now… Of course he’s past his sell by.

    Bit crazy that every English striker seems to be injury prone. Hmm. maybe its the training?

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