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Michael Owen Shows His Brilliance Again, Maturing With Age

Signs, signs everywhere the signs of my advancing age; a receding hairline balanced by a protruding gut, drinking wine instead of whiskey, a fine familiarity of the full line of muscle balm products, wheezing to keep up in my Saturday league games, and now watching a Premier League legend my age make his season debut in a Carling Cup 3rd round tie.

Michael Owen scored a brace against Leeds United yesterday but it came in a game where Sir Alex Ferguson experimented wildly with his team sheet. Owen, 32 in December, will forever be defined by a night when he was all of 18. Already a teenage sensation for Liverpool, he took his rightful place in a star-studded England lineup against Argentina on June 30, 1998 in St. Etienne, France.  In the 16th minute he expertly controlled a leading ball from David Beckham, fought off Jose Chamot  then froze Roberto Ayala with a slight jerk to the left, allowing him to continue charging towards his right for a fantastic finish. I watched that match in a pub on Euston Road near University College London where I was “studying.” Even after that heartbreaking shootout loss, the crowd was still buzzing about Owen’s wonderstrike. It was still the era of Tony Blair, Cool Britannia, Britpop, Beckham, Shearer, Scholes and Owen. Anything seemed possible.

It’s now 13 years later. Of that 1998 World Cup squad, only Owen and Rio Ferdinand still play. And while Owen can look back upon the Ballon d’Or, the F.A. Cup, being Liverpool’s 7th all-time goalscorer and England’s 4th all-time goalscorer, it still feels as if his accomplishments are only a hint of what he could have realized were it not for his innumerable injuries. An American analogy would be Ken Griffey, Jr.

Highlights of Owen’s career remain riveting entertainment but his story isn’t over yet. Sir Alex currently suffers from an embarrassment of riches so Owen spends what little time he has left soaking in the first team’s exploits from one of the best seats in Old Trafford. Selfishly, I’d like to see him move onto another club where he can resume his riveting raids on goal, if only to vicariously feel part of the current again.

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  1. Sim

    October 10, 2011 at 8:07 am

    Owen is still absolute quality, what a crying shame that a guy gifted with that quality wants to sit his career on the bench at Old Trafford. Goes to show you that its all about money and not the game anymore, otherwise who would want to sign for Manchester United?? One appearance all season of note – sad that a career that started in the 98 WC when football meant something should disappear down a lavatory sat at Old Trafford.

  2. TheBoxBlog

    September 27, 2011 at 5:05 am

    What a great player Michael is to have on your bench. He may not be able to play 60 games a season anymore but playing him when he is needed in those 60 games is a different story.

  3. Richard

    September 27, 2011 at 2:38 am


  4. Toit

    September 21, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    I 8 2 tell u this, but reading your comment makes me wanna do to you what united did to arsenal at old trafford gooner boy 🙂

  5. gooner

    September 21, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    He’s a traitor. Once a scouse red, you can never become a red devil. same for players like paul ince. traitors. speaking of liverpool, brighton and hove albion are doing liverpool what barca did to united at wembley. united and liverpool and chelsea can rot and burn to peices! gunner 4 ever!

    • Eric

      September 22, 2011 at 11:26 am

      I guess you weren’t an Arsenal fan when William Gallas was in the squad and captain? Remember, he transferred from Chelsea to Arsenal then to Spurs.

  6. Jared

    September 21, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    If he moved onto another club and was expected to play regularly he wouldn’t last 2 weeks before getting injured again.

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