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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 09 03 Retrieve

[Michael Owen has admitted his move to Newcastle was one of the biggest regrets of his career] My move to Newcastle was one I really regret - I should have followed my gut instincts from the start. I didn’t want to go there - my heart was still set on a return to Liverpool. Liverpool couldn’t match Newcastle’s offer. From a career perspective, there was no doubt in my mind that a move to the North East was a downward step

I could hear Newcastle fans, my fans, singing ‘what a waste of money!’ as I’m being stretchered off. I can’t deny their actions that day changed things for me. No longer was I even going to attempt to ingratiate myself with the fans. Instead, I flipped it in a slightly more resentful way thinking, I don’t need to justify myself to f** Newcastle fans

[Owen feels the club are only a ‘big club’ due to the size of their supporter base rather than for any success on the pitch] This kind of blind delusion is especially true of Newcastle United - which, as I reach for the nearest tin hat, is only a big club in the sense that it has a lot of fans and a big stadium. They’re historically not successful off the pitch, in fact quite the opposite mostly. And they’ve never really won much on it in recent times

2019 09 03b Retrieve

[Michael Owen questions Alan Shearer’s loyalty to Newcastle as Twitter spat turns ugly] My move to Newcastle was one I really regret - I should have followed my gut instincts from the start. I didn’t want to go there - my heart was still set on a return to Liverpool. Liverpool couldn’t match Newcastle’s offer. From a career perspective, there was no doubt in my mind that a move to the North East was a downward step

I could hear Newcastle fans, my fans, singing ‘what a waste of money!’ as I’m being stretchered off. I can’t deny their actions that day changed things for me. No longer was I even going to attempt to ingratiate myself with the fans. Instead, I flipped it in a slightly more resentful way thinking, I don’t need to justify myself to f** Newcastle fans

Not sure you are as loyal to Newcastle as you make out, mate. I distinctly remember you being inches away from signing for Liverpool after Sir Bobby Robson put you on the bench. You tried everything to get out.

2019 09 04 Retrieve

[Former England striker Michael Owen has revealed that he still harbours resentment towards his old Three Lions team-mate David Beckham after the latter was sent off in a crunch clash with Argentina in the 1998 World Cup] I’ll start by saying that David and I always got on well on a personal level. He was obviously a very talented player. I always admired him massively because I always felt that nobody, I repeat, nobody, worked harder than David to maximise the talent he did have. But after that World Cup in France, few would argue that his and my paths were different. I became the darling of English football for a period of time whereas he became the villain.

The general feeling in the dressing room immediately after the match was that there was nothing to say about him getting sent off. What could any of us have said to him that would have changed anything? The damage was done. Whether I thought his actions lost us the game or not didn’t matter. For me, at that time, it was about hierarchy and standing. I was just a junior member of that squad. I was really just a kid. But… sitting here now, with the benefit of hindsight and perspective, I feel that what David did probably wasn’t a red card offence in the first place. While it was clearly pre-meditated, it was immature and petulant more than it was violent. But for me, that almost makes it worse.

All I can say is that, as I sit here now writing this book, knowing how lucky a player is to appear in one World Cup, never mind more than one, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that what David did that day hadn’t let every single one of that England team down. Did he deserve the abuse he got afterwards? Certainly not. What human being needs to see his or her effigy being burned? But David let us down, and I still hold some resentment about it today

2019 09 05 Retrieve

[Michael Owen believes Alan Shearer is blaming him for his own failure as Newcastle manager as the pair’s public spat continues] If Alan Shearer has come to the conclusion that I didn’t fancy playing in the last game against Aston Villa because I was worried about getting injured and subsequently worried about my next move then, if that’s what’s in his head and that’s how he’s overcome his disappointment of not being a success as Newcastle manager, then that’s fine in a way. It’s almost like a grieving period and sometimes you’ve got to blame someone else. I’ve done it loads of times in my life. Do you think I’ve come off a pitch and said ‘I’ve been rubbish today, it’s all my fault?’ No way. You’ll never be a footballer if you’re like that.

You think ‘well the right-back can’t pass for toffee, the midfielder is not creative enough, my strike partner is not seeing my run’, whatever you think. Very rarely if you’re right at the top of the game do you blame yourself. As I say, it’s a compliment to Alan Shearer. He’s had to find some way of not blaming himself, I guess, for what happened with Newcastle. But I find it hard that he’s come to the decision to blame me for it when I was hardly fit in the period he took over, and then I actually put my body on the line in the last game when really I was a week or two away from being fit from a groin injury. So I get it, I don’t agree with it. I don’t think that he will ever change his mind, change his view, so I almost think that bit is pointless

[Owen admitted that he has considered resolving his differences with Shearer since they went their separate ways after that disastrous 2008-09 campaign, but he believes any attempt would be in vain] I’ve often thought of it. A few years ago, I knew I was going to be in the same room doing TV with him and I thought about speaking to him then. But he’s a strong personality and so am I. I’m not going to change his mind. To be honest, I’m pretty surprised it hasn’t come out before because we haven’t spoken for a long period of time now, sadly. We were big mates prior to him taking charge of Newcastle but that was the turning point really and since then we haven’t been big mates, let’s say

2019 09 06 Retrieve

[Michael Owen says Mohamed Salah’s selfish streak will not be a problem for Liverpool] When you look at Liverpool’s front three, you have Roberto Firmino, who is probably the most unselfish player in the world - he would lay on anything - so would be a dream to play with. At the other end of the spectrum, you have Mo Salah, who is just focused on scoring and wanting to be the goalscorer. Then you have Sadio Mane, who sits in between - he likes scoring and is selfish when he needs to be - but he’s also quite generous in his passing. I think you have a great balance there, but it just boiled over the other day. I was doing the [Burnley vs Liverpool] game for television and I said at the time: ‘Have you seen that? There are a couple of times he [Salah] should have been passing.’

Of course, it all blew up and I saw it coming in many ways. These problems happen all the time and it’s Jurgen Klopp’s job to smooth them over. But I do think that, as a striker, there is a balance in everything. There has to be one that’s unselfish and one who is selfish, otherwise you are never going to get any goals. I was always at my best with Emile Heskey - he was really unselfish and I was a really selfish so-and-so. But put me with another selfish player - another striker who was hungry for goals - and you wouldn’t necessarily hit it off the same

I don’t think it will be a problem that will last. Next time Salah gets the ball, he will probably be more conscious that he has to pass sometimes, if there is a better opportunity. If he does, I guess it will be forgotten about, but these players are playing right on the edge at the very highest level and little things can just happen like that. It’s fine. These things happen all the time in every dressing-room - you get arguing all the time. Unfortunately for Jurgen Klopp, it happened in front of the cameras and he had to dampen it down, but things like that happen all the time at every club. Sometimes having an argument is quite a good thing because it keeps everyone on their toes. You are talking about 25 men in a squad who live in each other’s pockets for nine-10 months a year, so you are always going to have arguments, scuffles. Not everyone will get on, but it’s the manager’s job to piece it all together

2019 09 06b Retrieve

[Michael Owen has cast doubt on Marcus Rashford’s capabilities in front of goal] I don’t think scoring goals is what he goes to bed craving. I think it is overall performance, chipping in with goals, assists, everything. He is a better all-round player than me. He has a great touch and all round skill that I never had, but he hasn’t got the killer instinct that I had. I was just obsessed. Players like Robbie Fowler, Sergio Aguero or Harry Kane - these people who are obsessed with goals. I don’t think he is obsessed with goals

[And he believes that ability is something which is almost impossible to teach] You can definitely improve your finishing, but I don’t think you can improve your instinct and I don’t think you can improve the way you are made. I know Rashford was never a centre-forward as a kid. He always wanted to play wide or as a number ten and I know his coaches at the Man Utd academy were always encouraging him to follow the ball in, get tap-ins and get into the box, be a goalscorer. It was never really his desire. He was always outside the box, great touch and everything else. He will always score a decent number of goals and he is an absolutely wonderfully talented player, but when you mention Aguero, that cold-blooded constantly thinking about goals, I don’t think [he has that].

2019 09 08 Retrieve

[Michael Owen has revealed that Alan Shearer would be included in his all-time England XI, despite the pair having been engaged in a public Twitter spat over the serialisation of the former’s autobiography] When I was growing up I would’ve been looking at Alan thinking ‘What a player’. I managed to muscle my way into the team to play alongside him at the 1998 World Cup and then played with him up front at the European Championship in 2000 as well. We scored plenty of goals together. He was then a big influence in me going to Newcastle United and we were big mates at that point. On the big stage, if you’re thinking, ‘I need someone to finish or take a penalty’, he had absolute nerves of steel. He had a huge amount of self-belief and confidence. In recent years, you can’t mention England centre-forwards in general without mentioning him

It was difficult to leave Gary Neville out because he was fantastic. But I’m going to put Beckham in because, well, just look at his England record, his caps and some of his great moments. Of course, he was a very famous person off the pitch but, in the dressing room and around the squad, he was one of the lads. In my book, I praise him to high heaven but if I said to you asked you if David Beckham did the right thing in 1998 by kicking someone what would you say? Of course he didn’t. He got sent off. It wasn’t my fault, the fans’ or yours. He made a mistake. All I said in the book is that he made a mistake and that harmed our chances - it did. However, that doesn’t mean he’s not a great player and isn’t going to get in my team

2019 09 09 Retrieve

[Michael Owen says Manchester United are not far inferior to Liverpool] I don’t necessarily think the players are all that bad [at United]. I think when you look at other teams, look at Liverpool for example, are Manchester United players far inferior to Liverpool’s? I don’t necessarily think so. But do Liverpool’s players play with a greater understanding, a great cohesion, a lot of confidence? Then, yes. I was talking to John Barnes the other day and he was saying the exact same thing. He doesn’t think there’s anything between the two squads

When you look at the players, Manchester United have got great players but managers don’t seem to be getting that tune out of them like the Pep Guardiola teams or like the Jurgen Klopp teams at the moment. A lot of people will say when you have a manager that is there for that long then it’s very difficult for the next manager just to go and pick up the baton. Not many people would have envisaged the extent, let’s say, of the decline since. There’s been some trophies won along the way which has smoothed things over a little bit but in general, when you watch Manchester United now, it is a shadow of the previous teams of Sir Alex Ferguson’s reign I guess, and it’s going to take some building

2019 09 10 Retrieve

[Michael Owen says Phil Foden should push for loan move away from Manchester City] It is a big debate. He is training with some of the greatest players on the planet every single day and with Pep Guardiola but there is nothing quite like having hardened pros either side of you and going on loan almost rounds you off as a player. I don’t think you have to be choosy [about a club], just get him out there, get him playing games. [He will learn] how to win, how to please fans and how to play well when your touch is a bit off

[Owen believes the likes of Foden have to be making decisions which best serve their future careers] Look at the England team, there are hardly any players who go straight through. You have Marcus Rashford but apart from that there are few who don’t go and get experience

2019 09 15 Retrieve

[Michael Owen admits he has been left bemused by the daily abuse he receives on social media from Liverpool fans over his decision to join their rivals Manchester United in 2009] Football is a job. A very special job and a privileged job, but it is still a job for the players and the managers involved in it. Obviously, fans who have a real passion for their club don’t see it in that light and that’s where the problems can start, especially in an age when social media gives people access to reach you. Fans never change their colours and we all understand that. It is their life, it is their passion, but they will change jobs from time to time in their careers and they don’t see that as betraying their former employer. These people who criticise you probably make similar moves in their careers. They might move from Barclays Bank to Lloyds Bank or from Sainsbury’s to Tesco’s and they are not accused of being disloyal. If a footballer moves from their club, these same people have a very different view. They accuse the player of lacking loyalty, of being a mercenary…. and yet the reality is, this is someone moving from one job to another, often with the aim of bettering themselves professionally and to look after their family. If you get a promotion in most jobs, you will get a pat on the back and people will congratulate you, but you are often all those unpleasant words I just mentioned if you leave one football club and join another. It’s madness, but it will always be the case

[Owen went on to insist he was not concerned by the controversy created by the release of his autobiography] The serialisation in one of the newspapers wasn’t pleasant because that created headlines insinuating some things I didn’t even say. I had my crash helmet on for a couple of days. It was quite painful to read the stories that were written about me and hear the radio phone-ins speculating on what they thought I’d said before the book has even been released. A lot of what was written was not necessarily representative of what I said, but the last few days have been very positive after people actually read what is in the book and not what the headlines claimed I said. Now it’s all out there and I’m getting a lot of positive feedback. After reading the comments in context, people are agreeing with a lot of what I said, but I understand how this process works. You need the serialisation to get people talking, a few words here and there are lifted and it sparks debate, even if it might not be actually what has been written in the book. I guess you need the publicity to get people interested in the book, but it is galling when you are listening to radio chat shows and they are talking about something you never even said and taking it out of context

2019 09 20 Retrieve

[Michael Owen says Mason Greenwood is going to be a proper Manchester United player for a long time] He’ll have a part to play in the Premier League, no question. His goal record at youth level is phenomenal. In my mind he’s going to be a proper Manchester United player for a long, long time.

Stay fit, stay healthy, and the sky is the absolute limit for him. He can be anything he wants, top scorer in the Premier League one day. I’m excited to see he’s able to decide a Europa League game at 17. For a young player to have that composure in the box, he’s going to be a top player

He’s doing this on a weekly basis, playing with these players. He’s desperate now to start with the big boys. They will feed him even better balls, and he’ll quickly prove he’s good enough to play in the first team already. It’s all a mental thing now. He’s good enough. He’ll think a bit differently to a lot of the players because he’s probably been carrying the youth team. As soon as he starts playing regularly for Manchester United he’ll be in the England squad

[While Greenwood is being backed to flourish at Old Trafford, Owen fears for those stuck on the fringes of the fold. The likes of Fred and Marcos Rojo are offering little to suggest that they can play important roles] They’re just squad players. It’s going to take two or three injuries for these types of players to get in the first team. Fred, probably the closest. They’re not going to play in any of the meaningful games, put it that way. You sink or swim. You either have to get yourself up to that level or you’re going to be sat as a squad player

2019 10 03 Retrieve

[Michael Owen says The ongoing battle between Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah at Liverpool is considered to be healthy competition] Yeah I think he would [walk into any team]. His finishing has certainly improved, it has become more consistent over recent seasons. I think he’s a typical Jurgen Klopp player in that Jurgen Klopp improves players, it’s just standard in the team. You look at right across the team. He gets people playing for him, he makes people better and there’s no question his level at the moment is as high as it’s ever been

2019 10 03b Retrieve

[Former England striker Michael Owen has labelled the Red Devils’s squad the worst Manchester United team for decades] Yes, I’d say [Manchester United are now a mid-table team]. I don’t think they’ll be top six this season, personally. Top half I think is likely, but just the fact we’re having this conversation is the worry, isn’t it? This has got to be the worst Manchester United team for decades, hasn’t it? Since before Sir Alex Ferguson took over.

It’s been happening for a few years. For maybe five, six, seven, eight years you’ve been thinking ‘it can’t get any worse’, and it has. The point that I’d like to make is that in many ways, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has knowingly weakened his team. Getting rid of people like Lukaku, Herrera, Matteo Darmian, Sanchez, Chris Smalling. He knows he could improve his team with those players, but I think he’s taken the view that you’ve got to take a couple of steps backwards to then move forwards. He’s done that on purpose thinking, ‘right, we’ve just got to rid ourselves of players that, OK they’re probably better than what we’ve got, but are they going to take us to where we want to go?’ That answer is no, then you’re almost starting from scratch and I think that’s what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has done

2019 10 04 Retrieve

[Michael Owen has been left puzzled by Manchester United’s links to Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson] You have to see progress, you have to see the right type of player being brought in that actually goes down this philosophy. If they don’t buy young players, English players, whatever that might be, that’s actually along the lines of what we’re talking, then it really is a worry. People like Callum Wilson from Bournemouth are being linked at the moment. Now, if a lad in his late 20s, who’s a very good player, in the England squad, no problem with him, very good player. But if that’s where you’re going to go back to, then all of a sudden I’m thinking ‘what’s the point in getting rid of Lukaku?’

In many ways Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has knowingly weakened his team. Getting rid of people like Romelu Lukaku and Ander Herrera and Matteo Darmian and Sanchez, Chris Smalling - he knows that he could improve his team with those players. But I think he’s almost taken the view that you’ve got to take a couple of steps backwards to then move forwards. [Solskjaer] has done that on purpose thinking ‘right, we’ve just got to rid ourselves of players that, okay they’re probably better than what we’ve got, but are they going to take us to where we want to go?’ - and that answer is no. Then you’re almost starting from scratch and I think that’s what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s done

2019 10 11 Retrieve

[Michael Owen claims Manchester United’s supposed stars are getting worse] They haven’t got the players, they’re simply not good [enough]. That first XI, I’d say there’s three players, maybe four, that should be Manchester United players for the future. If you’re looking to build that club back to where it was, then there’s probably three or four in that first team. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in his interview afterwards, I was almost slipping down my chair, it was almost like he doesn’t know what’s going wrong, let’s say.

We can all speculate as to what’s going wrong. He can look over his shoulder and think ‘down the road you’ve got Jurgen Klopp, you’ve got [Pep] Guardiola - these are managers that are actually improving their players, they’re getting the best out of their squad’. I’m looking at that [United] squad and, if anything, the players are getting worse. They’re devaluing, as a squad they’re getting worse. Where is it all going to end?

2019 10 17 Retrieve

[Which players have played for both Manchester United and Liverpool in the Premier League era? Owen has maintained that he had been looking to return to Liverpool ever since leaving the club, even asking former defender Jamie Carragher to convince then-manager Rafael Benitez to sign him, but the move never materialised] I spoke to Carra and tried to get Benitez to do something. I wanted to try to put it right somehow. When it became clear Benitez didn’t want to do a deal, I spoke again with [Sir Alex] Ferguson. He was very positive about me. I was 29 years old. Should I have decided to retire there and then?

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]