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Name Michael Owen
Gender Male
Ethnic English
Job English Footballer
Desc England and Liverpool’s boy-wonder, Michael Owen’s best years game in his youth before injury took its toll – both physical and mentally. Owen was the last Englishman to win the Ballon d’Or, having notably helped Liverpool to a Treble in the 2000/01 season. He scored 118 goals for the Reds across 216 league appearances

Affiliation

Club as Player Newcastle United
  Liverpool FC

Relationship

Coach Gerard Houllier

1998 06 30 Retrieve

[WORLD CUP ‘98: Owen Lets His Boots Do The Talking] You don’t look at players’ strengths,. You look at their weaknesses and try to see where you can hurt them most if you get the chance

2003 04 26
West Bromwich, England - Liverpool’s Michael Owen celebrates his second goal, the Reds’ third, with Milan Baros as West Bromwich Albion’s goalkeeper Russel Hoult looks on during the Premiership match at the Hawthorns

2011 11 27 Retrieve

[Manchester United forward Michael Owen, who lives close to Gary Speed’s family in north Wales] Just cannot believe the news regarding Gary Speed. We waved at each other a couple of days ago dropping our kids off at school. I’m numb. He has died aged 42. So sad. He lived local to me and we knew his family. He leaves behind 2 sons. Tragic

2013 11 05 Retrieve

[Michael Owen on Paul Scholes] Nobody on this planet has a range of passing like Paul Scholes. Training every day is a pleasure just watching him

2014 02 14 Retrieve

[Michael Owen on Steven Gerrard] I have played alongside some of the greatest footballers of my generation, but there is only one ex-team-mate I would rate higher than Steven Gerrard. The biggest compliment I can give him is he is second only to Zinedine Zidane in terms of his world-class status

2014 05 04 Retrieve

[Michael Owen on joining Real Madrid] I was in a state of panic on the day of my unveiling. To learn a line or two in Spanish was bad enough, but I dreaded the ‘show pony’ part where you are expected to juggle the ball for the media. When the ball was tossed to me I volleyed it into the crowd to give the people, who had come to welcome me, something to cheer about. Another ball was thrown to me so another supporter earned a memento from the day. There was no way I was going to attempt a trick and fail in front of the world’s media

2015 08 20 Retrieve

[Michael Owen on Thierry Henry] He took the Premiership to a new level. We’ve had some good imports – Gianfranco Zola and Dennis Bergkamp among them – but he’s been the best. He beats players, he creates goals and he scores them. I’d pay to watch him

2015 09 26 Retrieve

[Michael Owen after his beloved horse Brown Panther was put down after suffering an injury defending the Irish St Leger crown] It’s the saddest day of my life. I was with him when he was born, shared an experience for seven years that will never be repeated, and gave him his last kiss goodbye. I’ve not shed so many tears in years but my grief is shared. Life will not be the same without you

2015 11 10 Retrieve

[on David Beckham] He had a fantastic work rate, a wand of a right foot, and his set pieces were brilliant. He created many, many of my goals

2015 11 28 Retrieve

[on Roy Keane] Keane kept it simple, yet had a great engine and could run box-to-box all day

2015 12 30 Retrieve

[on Sir Alex Ferguson] To say I played under him for three years is a proud thing to say

2016 02 17 Retrieve

[Quote on Cafu and Roberto Carlos] I played against Brazil a couple of times and he and Roberto Carlos were just awesome. They changed the way full-backs played. People thought a full-back should just defend, but in today’s game it’s important for full-backs to be good on the ball as well, and Cafu led the way in this respect

2016 02 18 Retrieve

[Quote on Roberto Carlos] Like Cafu, he made people rethink the role of a full-back in a team. Great on the ball, made good runs – but also great dead-ball delivery. Fantastic

2016 02 19 Retrieve

[Quotes on Marcel Desailly] When he came to Chelsea, he was a ‘proper’ player. With some defenders you think ‘he’s not strong’, ‘he’s not so quick’ or whatever and try to play against that weakness. But Desailly was virtually impossible to play against. He was strong, quick, and good on the ball. People question whether he just played well in the big games, but I tried kicking him once and hurt my foot – which shows what sort of game I had against him!

2016 02 20 Retrieve

[Michael Owen on the best defender he ever played against] I’d have to say Marcel Desailly – when he wanted to be. He was as quick as anyone, as strong as anyone and he was pretty much a machine when he first came over. He was a beast to play against

2016 03 24 Retrieve

[on Alan Shearer] Scored goals at every level and even when he was out injured for months on end, he always seemed to be top scorer! I like him because you get a lot of flair players, but nobody was as mentally tough as Alan, who got the most out of his body for such a long time. Probably the greatest Premiership player ever

2016 11 05 Retrieve

[Former England forward Michael Owen discusses Leicester City striker Jamie Vardy] Even when Jamie Vardy was scoring loads of goals last season he wasn’t convincing me as a natural finisher. But then again Alan Shearer used a lot of brute force and power. Vardy does contribute to the team with his running into the channels and his closing down. But he’s in the team to score goals and we’ve seen a contrast from last season. He’s the type of centre forward or type of finisher that is very much head down and hit it. He doesn’t once lift his head. He almost hits it through goalkeepers. To be a finisher like that you need a lot of luck - sometimes you’ll have it, sometimes you won’t

2019 11 25 Retrieve

[Michael Owen has singled out Dele Alli for praise after his superb performance for Tottenham against West Ham at the weekend] That was a huge performance. He’s come in for real stick in recent weeks but that first-half performance, in particular, was brilliant. He was the star man for me

2019 12 24 Retrieve

[Michael Owen says Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba is on a different level to the rest of his team-mates at Old Trafford] He’s on a different level. I had that throughout my career, the likes of Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Steven Gerrard, [Zinedine] Zidane. Players like that, as soon as you’re thinking of something, they’ve already thought of it. You’re just on a wavelength that is beyond any other player on the pitch in many ways. And you see Paul Pogba straightaway there, soon as he comes on, he’s spotting things that no one else has spotted

[Owen also highlighted Pogba’s importance] He’s creative, he scores goals. He’s everything that they are missing in that central area. [Solskjaer] will be absolutely delighted that he’s got his creativity back

2019 12 27 Retrieve

[Michael Owen believes Anthony Martial is a proper player but that he still doesn’t deliver the goods on a regular basis for Manchester United] I think when we talk about consistency, Martial would be the one you would label. If Manchester United were back and firing on all cylinders at the top of the table, I think he would be much more consistent as a player. When games sort of drift and they’re not in control, then I think [Marcus] Rashford still gives you something, I still think [Mason] Greenwood will give you something, and that’s when he [Martial] can go missing a little bit. But when he’s on form he’s a proper player

2019 12 30 Retrieve

[Quizzed on whether Liverpool could go unbeaten and top the return of City’s centurions] Yes and yes. I don’t see why not. They are by far and away the best team in the Premier League. Are they the best team that we’ve seen in the Premier League? I think they just need to continue this level for another season or two – get their hands on the trophy for starters. There’s no question that they can go unbeaten. It will be very interesting to see how Jurgen Klopp juggles his squad, depending on what competitions there are and things like that. He might even have won the league so early that he can rest players for other competitions, who knows? But this is a seriously good team. Over the season, they have been nothing short of brilliant

2019 12 31 Retrieve

[Michael Owen considers Alexander-Arnold to have already exceeded expectations by reaching the very top of the game] He’s grown with this team, grown with this manager and got better and better and better. He certainly wasn’t Steven Gerrard growing up where you pinned it on him and said ‘absolutely guaranteed England player’. He wasn’t like that, he’s just organically grown within the team and the club. Now he’s world-class, absolutely world-class as a full-back

2020 01 02 Retrieve

[Michael Owen says Liverpool have absolutely everything and are on course to go down in the Premier League’s hall of fame] We are witnessing one of the best teams in Premier League history. They have just got absolutely everything. We are witnessing one of the best Premier League teams in history, if not the best. The only thing they need to do now is lift that Premier League trophy, and probably a couple of times. This team has been sensational for a good while now

[When asked if Liverpool had produced a champion’s performance against Sheffield United] Yes, total control. It would be fair to say a couple of years ago you could say Liverpool struggled to hang on to a lead and often looked flimsy late on. But this last year it has just been sensational stuff. They’ve got a variety of ways to play, they can score from any part of the pitch, they’ve got strength out wide and they create goals for full-backs

2020 01 17 Retrieve

[Michael Owen says Harry Kane will be a miracle man if he returns to competitive action in April] I’m really nervous about saying what he’s got and comparing my injury to his. It is dangerous because I don’t exactly know. I’ve read that he’s ruptured his hamstring at the tendon. Now, that is exactly what I did. If that’s the case, there is no chance he will be back in April. I took six months and I felt awful coming back. It always felt like it was going to snap on me again. Once I got back, it was brilliant. It wasn’t like a muscle injury where you’re constantly feeling it and it won’t rob you of pace

I’ve got no question that Kane will be right as rain when he comes back because it’s not in the belly of the muscle. When you do it up in the tendon, it’s obviously a surgical repair but tendons have bad blood supplies. It’s not an injury that heals very quickly and I remember going back after three, four, five months and thinking ‘If I push on here it’s just going to pop again’ and it took me six months in total. I had no mishaps in rehab. If, and this is a big if, he has had the same injury as me and he comes back in April, he will be a miracle man

2020 01 25 Retrieve

[Michael Owen says Too many players are regressing when joining Manchester United] I think players are turning up there and regressing as football players. I think that’s the most worrying aspect of it all. We can all sit here and agree or disagree, Alexis Sanchez was the best player in the Premier League for two, three seasons. I think we’d all agree that, he was brilliant. How can you go from that level to being so bad like that?

You can go on and on and on. I can’t see any player in that team, in the last six, seven years that you think ‘We signed him, he’s now better, he’s getting better as a player’. If anything they stay the same or regress. So yes we can talk about signings, good and bad, but I think we’d all agree at some point I thought Alexis Sanchez was going to be a brilliant signing, we all did, how can you not? He was brilliant. It’s alright saying everything’s bad, but why is it bad

If you continue to splash money, Di Maria here, and all these great players - it’s not a coincidence that they’re all just going bad, or they’re bad signings. Something’s going wrong fundamentally at the club where they’re not getting the best out of them. I think that’s what you’ve got to find out first before you just go and blow another £100m. At the minute, as we’ve all said, there’s scattergun signings, there’s scattergun tactics, there’s scattergun everything. That’s why I’d be so hesitant if I was holding the purse strings at Manchester United just to go ‘Yeah, go on, go and sign another £100-200m player’ - it’s going to be a waste again

2020 02 06 Retrieve

[Owen offers take on debate which once divided English football] If you watch Scholesy in training, your tongue is hanging out. He can give you the eyes, you can think he’s heading it that way and he’ll almost do a reverse spinner off the other side of his head. He can drop a ball on a sixpence. He is just total and utter genius. But there’s that and there’s the actual practicalities of playing on a big pitch where you need size, strength, substance, running ability, all these things. And if you play one v one, you against you, Stevie against any of the names that you’ve played, I think he would eat them for dinner.

Someone like Scholesy obviously had different attributes. I mean, unbelievable the way he changed his game from being a bombing midfielder scoring to a quarterback. Total genius. Frank Lampard, who can question his goalscoring and how he got every ounce out of his ability? But to me, Stevie’s on a different level than anything I’ve seen or played with and as you’ve said, I’m not blowing smoke up my arse, I’ve played with some great Man Utd players, Liverpool players, Real Madrid, England. Put it this way. If I’m saying tomorrow rewind the clock, you’re going into battle now, you’re playing in the Champions League final, who’s your first pick? I’d have Steven Gerrard as my first pick out of anyone

2020 02 21 Retrieve

[Michael Owen claims Liverpool will be favouring back-to-back Champions League wins over an unbeaten Premier League title triumph] There’s no question about it that the Premier League was the be all and end all for virtually every Liverpool fan before the season started. The Champions League has been conquered a couple of times in the last decade or so, so it was all about the Premier League. If you tucked away the Premier League in their pockets and said: ‘Do you want to go unbeaten or win the Champions League?’ I’d say Champions League, definitely. Win the double. It would be a huge achievement, but the chance to win both – assuming that the Premier League is already tucked in – then get another trophy

I think they are definitely favourites. It’s tilted it slightly. Atletico did exactly what they always do. They haven’t had the best of seasons but if ever there was a team that represents their manager and what he wants, it’s that team. I just think that Liverpool, the Anfield factor, it still leaves them as favourites. They just have to be careful a little bit

Jurgen Klopp, Andy Robertson, there was plenty of needle during that game. Klopp brought one of his best players off in Sadio Mane at half-time because he was scared of players diving around and him getting sent off. So, there is plenty of needle after that first leg. As long as Liverpool keep their heads, no red cards, I still see them going through

2020 03 11 Retrieve

[Michael Owen believes Liverpool are still the best team in Europe] Liverpool are out now but there’s no question whatsoever that every single big team around Europe has just breathed a huge sigh of relief

Liverpool are out and I’ve got no doubts that they’re the best team in Europe. Yes, they’ve been beaten over two legs but they’re still the best team in Europe and they were absolutely outstanding for 90 minutes I thought tonight.

The difference probably between the two sides was the goalkeepers. The Madrid players will sit in there dressing room, look at each other and say ‘How good were that team we’ve just beaten? We’ve never played anything like that’. They literally blew them away for 90 minutes but perseverance, hanging in there, and anything can happen in football

2020 03 12 Retrieve

[Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen says Spare me the Simeone masterclass nonsense] Madrid players there will sit down in their dressing room and look at each other and say ‘Oh my word, how good were that team that we’ve just beaten there? We’ve never played anything like that’. Liverpool blew them away for 90 minutes

Please spare me all this inevitable Simeone masterclass nonsense. There’s nothing genius about putting 11 top-class footballers behind the ball. Liverpool absolutely pumped them throughout

2020 04 30 Retrieve

[Michael Owen says Virgil van Dijk is more important to Liverpool than Mohamed Salah or Sadio Mane] Well it’s a great question. Liverpool were probably struggling for a period of time and Jurgen Klopp went: ‘Right, central defence and goalkeeper, they’re the big problem areas for us’. And he went and got possibly the best two players in the world in those places in Alisson and Van Dijk. Who’s the most important player? The front three get a lot of headlines of course. The two full-backs get a lot of headlines, they’re amazing. Probably the area of the pitch that gets the least headlines is the midfield, the three midfielders. But a lot of people are now starting to think that Jordan Henderson has such a huge influence on that team and I’d have to agree with that. But if you asked me what player, what one player Liverpool are probably most dependent on that they wouldn’t want out for a full season, I would probably say Virgil van Dijk

All the players in the team have got better under his guidance, which is a real sign of a good coach. It’s okay buying players who are already brilliant but he’s making even average players look world class in certain cases. They’ve got some great players, they’re an unbelievably talented team and it looks like it’s a very happy place. Everybody’s desperate to play for each other and now all of a sudden you’re wondering whether anybody can catch Liverpool for the next few years because they are head and shoulders better than anybody else at the moment

2020 04 30 Retrieve

[Michael Owen says It’s starting to look very promising for Man Utd] I think with this current stop, Manchester United might be the one team that wanted to continue playing, they were starting to get into a real good run of form. [Bruno] Fernandes had signed, he is a fantastic signing, [Paul] Pogba will be back soon. This break has been good for [Marcus] Rashford as well, he’ll be back fit. All of a sudden, you’re looking at Manchester United - and I haven’t been able to say this for years - but you’re looking at that squad thinking ‘wow, they’re on their way back’. They spent lots of money on their defence, they’ve still got one of the best goalkeepers in the world, it’s starting to look very promising for Manchester United. I haven’t been able to say that for a long time

[He added on the man currently calling the shots at the Theatre of Dreams] I must admit, right at the start [of the season] you’d have to question [Solskjaer’s appointment], because they were looking like there was no improvement. But just in the last month or two before the season stopped, I was starting to think he was doing the right thing and building a certain type of team that they didn’t have in the last few years

2020 05 12 Retrieve

[Michael Owen makes no apologies for having linked up with Manchester United in 2009] I was leaving Newcastle and the first thing I did was phone Carra [Jamie Carragher] and said ‘speak to Rafa Benitez’. Carra got back to me and said ‘no, he’s about to sign someone’. I think it was David Ngog, but he had already had some great players in the team and basically they didn’t need another centre-forward. What do you want me to do at that point? My agent then spoke to virtually every club on the planet to see who was interested and the options were Hull City, Everton and Manchester United. You can imagine my thought process – go to Everton, get hated, go to Man Utd and get hated as well. As soon as I heard Man Utd were in for me then I thought, obviously first choice would be Liverpool and to go back there but if Liverpool aren’t going to want me and these are all my options then wow, Manchester United in the Champions League, I don’t have to move, I know loads of the lads. It was a brilliant move. I couldn’t believe my luck when Manchester United came in for me. Here’s me, regressing as a player in my own mind and still the champions of England wanted to sign me. I was absolutely buzzing when they wanted me

When I was growing up, winning the Premier League for Liverpool would have been my massive dream, or winning the Champions League. As it is, I had to settle for winning quite a few trophies with Liverpool but none of them being the Premier League, which was unfortunate

2020 05 12b Retrieve

[Michael Owen says Salah, Mane & Firmino stronger together than apart] I just think this current three, a bit like the Liverpool team really, it just clicks. If you lifted individual players and put them into different teams within the Premier League would they be as good without each other? It is debatable and probably arguable that you would say no. This team just gels so well with each other and I think that the attacking players benefit so much from the full-backs that are really attacking players. The midfielders give a really solid foundation. I just think everything gels so well. To the eye, this three probably beat most attacking units over the years.

2020 05 16 Retrieve

[Michael Owen talks about Zinedine Zidane] He was big, strong and if he did a turn he had a real burst of pace. Vision and goalscoring as well. He was just a brilliant player. Probably the one who when I joined Real Madrid, I couldn’t stop watching in training. I just thought he was God in many ways

2020 06 09 Retrieve

[Michael Owen claims Jack Grealish may be a better fit for Manchester United than Paul Pogba] That’s going to be probably the most fascinating thing when they come back, whether he puts them both [Pogba and Fernandes] in the same team. I think it’s taken a huge bit of pressure off him that Fernandes has done fantastically well. Now he doesn’t necessarily have to put Pogba in straightaway because there’s going to be questions about whether they can play together. It might also accelerate the departure of Pogba now Fernandes is a brilliant player because all of a sudden, when you’re watching Manchester United you’re missing someone with creativity, you’re missing someone with vision but now since Fernandes has come in you’re not missing any of that.

[Owen added on Pogba and why moving the 27-year-old on could prove to be the best course of action] Now he [Pogba] might just be dispensable if they get a big bid. If I was Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, I would get big money bearing in mind they’ve got Fernandes now and then you could go and invest in someone like Grealish. He might have the style that compliments Manchester United better than Pogba does at the moment

2020 06 09b Retrieve

[Michael Owen believes Timo Werner could have added Fernando Torres-esque qualities to Liverpool, which has seen him net 92 times in 155 appearances for Leipzig] They’re great numbers aren’t they? And he’s not playing in a poor league. The Bundesliga is a very strong league and you would say that he can translate that. He does it at international level as well. I’ve been watching him quite closely since the restart and he’s already started scoring goals, he’s very quick, can cut in from wide, times his runs brilliantly and he’s very direct as well, straight at the goal, a bit like Torres. I don’t think he plays exactly the same but I always used to feel that Torres would take that first touch and then be motoring forward. I like him a lot. I’m sure Liverpool wanted him but maybe the financial implications and where we’re standing in the world at the moment put them off […] but I’m pretty sure they wanted him.

[Owen suggests that Liverpool may have been scared off by Werner’s asking price] That’s the problem. Liverpool gave Divock Origi a long-term contract not so long ago […] they’ve almost nailed their colours to the mast in terms of, ‘Right, he’s our back-up in case anyone gets injured’. Werner is a top player and I think if Klopp had the choice to have Werner come in as that fourth striker then absolutely he would. But you’ve got to balance it in terms of where we are financially at the moment and I just think that probably Chelsea need him more. I think he’d love to go to Liverpool but I think Chelsea at this minute need him more and are willing to go that extra step.

2020 06 10 Retrieve

[Michael Owen believes Manchester United need to find their next Wayne Rooney, suggesting that Mason Greenwood could be the man to follow in the club’s legendary former striker’s footsteps] I still think that Manchester United could do with – I know it’s impossible but if they could find that next Wayne Rooney, that next 19, 20, 21-year-old who was going to be there for the next 10 years […] They’ve almost been getting by with [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic, getting by with [Odion] Ighalo. These players are very good but coming to the end of their career but they probably need to find that one like a Rooney, right at the start of his career that’s going to carry them forward. Can it be Mason Greenwood? It might be that they use these types of players while he grows with them. It’s all fascinating at the moment at Manchester United, a real, interesting puzzle to solve. But I do think they’re going in the right direction

2020 06 22 Retrieve

[Michael Owen says Pogba isn’t a standard Premier League player, he’s world class] These players are the difference. That is the difference between just a Premier League player and someone that we all talk about, all the time. That [Pogba winning a penalty] is just a moment of brilliance when the game is hard, when Tottenham get 11 men behind the ball. You need something out of the ordinary, and Paul Pogba has got that about him. The little shimmy and that’s it. If it wasn’t for him, then they would have got beaten 1-0. It’s brilliant play. That’s the difference between standard Premier League players and world-class players

2020 06 25 Retrieve

[Liverpool will go down as one of the best teams in Premier League history] Quite unbelievable. They’re such a good team, it’s such a good club, it’s been waiting for this moment for such a long time

Jurgen Klopp, what an absolute legend of a manager he’s gone down as. European champions and now they’ve got the one that they wanted all that time, Premier League champions, it’s just what everybody’s wanted for such a long time and I’m sure Merseyside is absolutely bouncing at the moment and so it should be

The players deserve immense credit, it’s been a tough season but they’ve been far and away the best team, the stats will prove that, it’ll go down in history as one of the best Premier League teams that we have seen. Jurgen Klopp, he’s just taken this team to new heights so 30, 40 years ago when Liverpool had great teams, I think Merseyside is unbelievably proud of what they’ve got now

2020 06 25b Retrieve

[Man Utd still need a No 9 despite Martial hat-trick] We’re judging a team that has been below-par for a long time. Now, all of a sudden, they have got a lot of good players. [Marcus] Rashford missed a chance in the first half and if he had put it in, it would have been one of the goals of the season. The intricate play on the edge of the box was absolutely brilliant. So now I think he’s [Martial] going to get more service, and now is the right time to be playing as a centre-forward for Manchester United – with the likes of [Paul] Pogba and [Bruno] Fernandes and all these players in and around you. Is he one that’s going to be the No.9 for years to come? At the minute he looks very inconsistent. He will score a hat-trick, but is he going to constantly score a lot of goals? There is still a question mark.

There is still a question about what is his best position. I think it’s probably off the left, but then again that’s probably Marcus Rashford’s best position. They are shuffling the pack a little bit at the moment but if you ask most people, they will say: ‘Where do Manchester United need to strengthen? They need a main No.9’

2020 06 30 Retrieve

[Liverpool will struggle to find any player in the next transfer window that could slot straight into their starting XI] Look at their team at the moment. Of course they have James Milner, who is getting on in years but he’s the perfect type of player to have around the dressing room to come off the bench. The main bulk of the squad is at the right age, they’ve certainly got a good few years to play together at the top of their game. Certain teams, like City, you can say: ‘Right, Fernandinho is getting on now, the full-backs are getting weaker’, there’s certain areas they can improve. But I don’t see that with Liverpool. I’m not being biased at all but I don’t see players that can come in. Maybe there’s players that can come in as cover for striker or cover as left-back but nobody’s saying someone can go straight into the team

I think they’re [Liverpool] a very, very strong team that’s probably going to be strong for some time. That’s not to say they can’t be caught. Manchester City are a phenomenal team and if they turn it on we’re going to have a great title race. Manchester United are the first team outside those two that spring to mind because they’re improving at a rapid rate. Chelsea are showing a lot of intent with their signings. They’ve been banned from signing players for some while but now they’re making a big splash and they’ve got some youngsters coming in. Frank Lampard looks like he has the bit between their teeth. There’s lots of teams that look like they could do it [challenge] but I think they’re the main two [as well as City]