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Michael Owen Continues His Unfortunate Slide Into Football Obscurity

Manchester United's Michael Owen celebrates after scoring during their English Premier League soccer match against Bolton Wanderers at the Reebok Stadium in Bolton, northern England, September 26, 2010. REUTERS/Phil Noble (BRITAIN - Tags: SPORT SOCCER) NO ONLINE/INTERNET USAGE WITHOUT A LICENCE FROM THE FOOTBALL DATA CO LTD. FOR LICENCE ENQUIRIES PLEASE TELEPHONE ++44 (0)

While his most recent revelation has proved, one in which Michael Owen expressed his desire to languish on Manchester United’s bench instead of pursuing first team football elsewhere, the story of Owen’s decline into English football obscurity, while often times sad, continues.

With yet another fresh injury to the hamstring again placing Owen on a bench in England’s top flight, even now the optimists must believe the striker is considering what would be a semi early retirement at only 30.

Far away are the days of Owen’s England exploits. His goal in the eventual loss v Argentina in World Cup ’98 announcing the words ‘Michael’ and ‘Owen’ to the world is now a far cry from his current state of affairs. Or, maybe just an earlier chapter in the book that is his playing career for club and country.

Owen’s Liverpool days, one in which the striker scored 118 goals in 216 appearances for the Reds, oddly feel further away and more distant than his glory days for England.

Stints at Real Madrid and Newcastle witnessed moderate success but also injury concerns that would serve as a warning for things to come for Owen. Regardless of the setbacks, his never say die attitude gave fans hope he’d one day again reach his best form.

While Wayne Rooney has just penned a new five year deal and with the in form Dimitar Berbatov and Javier Hernandez also in the fold, Owen’s already slim chance of getting starts for United continue to dwindle as each day passes.

For now, Owen is in the final year of his current contract with Manchester United and it seems highly unlikely that Sir Alex Ferguson will grant the striker another year of bench time with the Red Devils. While this most recent injury setback looks to keep him out for the next four weeks at least, Owen remains candid about his desire to stay and fight for his spot at United.

Most recently, in an exclusive interview with The Guardian, Owen spoke of his desire to stay at United instead of pursing first team football at a different club, “I won’t drop down the leagues and whether I would even want to drop down to a poorer Premier League team, I don’t know“.

Which translates to Owen hanging up his boots if United refuse to grant him another year or two in Manchester. While I’d absolutely hate to see him go, it’s obvious his best days are well behind him and that Michael Owen has a few serious decisions to consider in the near future.

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  1. JC

    October 28, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    Completely remove the first two paragraphs and you have a fine article.

    On the topic of Michael Owen, I don’t think he’ll end up in the MLS. He doesn’t have the recognized name of Beckham or even Henry. He won’t be a big draw and his skills aren’t good enough to make up the difference in what would be a huge price tag. Not a sound investment.

  2. Dave C

    October 28, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Sorry for the multiple posts…

    It’s also kind of sad that he doesn’t want to drop down the leagues (or even to a lesser premier league team). I’m not sure if this is because:

    (a) he doesn’t actually enjoy playing football enough to want to do it for a smaller salary. He’d rather just quit altogether and focus on his horses; or

    (b) he realizes what I said above – he’s just a limited guy who doesn’t have speed anymore. A slow Michael Owen in the lower ends of the EPL, or even in the Championship, would probably not be very effective.

  3. Dave C

    October 28, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Meanwhile, as for the actual subject matter of the article:

    It is sad that he’s dropped off the radar to such an extent. Incredible to think that until Capello took over, the guy was almost guaranteed a spot in the England XI whenever fit. And to put it in further context, I remember at one point it seemed inevitible that Owen would comfortably smash the England scoring record held by Bobby Charlton.

    In a way though, I think his early decline was almost inevitable. I’ve always thought he was an incredibly one-dimensional player. He didn’t have any particular skill on the ball, he didn’t have a long range shot, he didn’t have any vision for passing, he didn’t have a left-foot, and he didn’t have height or physical strength (although he was surprisingly good in the air). He was just fast, and composed in front of goal. Unfortunately, he’d always been fairly injury prone, and over time, that was always bound to sap his speed. Without that, he’s left with very little to offer.

  4. Dave C

    October 28, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    Ok, I hate to be the grammar police, but let me point this out before someone else does so in a nastier manner:

    Your first sentence/paragraph is not a sentence at all. It’s just a big jumble of clauses. I don’t expect blogs to be held to the same standards as a newspaper or magazine, but at least make the first sentence coherent.

    The second sentece/paragraph is gramatically OK, but your use of the term “bench” is confusing (I assume it’s some Americanism). In soccer, the bench is where the substitutes sit. To be a substitute, you have to be phyiscally fit to play (at least to some extent). So a player with an injured hamstring could not be on the bench. I think the “Owen’s injury has placed him on the physio’s table” would be a better term.

    • warren

      October 28, 2010 at 6:00 pm

      Yes, sorry Jesse, but I have to agree with Dave C – I’ve written things like that in emails, but usually catch them before I hit send! Looks like you were caught in about 3 minds coming up with the opening line! 😀

  5. Clampdown

    October 28, 2010 at 11:47 am

    LA Galaxy.

    Play with Becks. Make lots of money as a DP. Near several high-profile horseracing tracks.

    • jose

      October 28, 2010 at 12:33 pm


  6. Gaz Hunt

    October 28, 2010 at 11:28 am

    He says that he’ll retire if the contact isn’t extended now but when the time comes and clubs are offering him a new contact he won’t be able to resist.

    I personally would love to see a reunion of the Heskey / Owen partnership at Villa.

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