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Michael Owen – England’s Missing Ingredient?

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Is Michael Owen the man to get the goals for England when needed?Following yet another national disappointment of the England squad, this time a distinctly average 2-2 draw against Switzerland at Wembley on Saturday afternoon, the nation of professionals, pundits and armchair experts alike are all asking the same question. How exactly do we win?

Well Mr Capello, Mr Lineker, Mr Smith from Leighton Buzzard, I have found the solution to all of your problems. The fact is simple. Goals are hard to come by if you’re an England player and finishing off teams when we really ought to be three or four in front by half time alone is a common symptom of our game at this level. With Darren Bent’s club form being first-rate, you believed he was the answer Mr Capello. Wrong again I am afraid Fabio.

When an ever developing, world class Jack Wilshere slotted a perfectly timed through ball into the path of an on rushing Darren Bent, the nation prayed. In the end Bent stumbled and fluffed a right footed strike straight at the Swiss goalkeeper. Two minutes later he was given a chance to redeem himself. Ashley Young’s fierce shot rebounded kindly off Diego Benaglio into Bent’s path who leant back and caressed the ball at least three foot over the crossbar.

For a striker who has scored 45 goals in the last two seasons for Sunderland and Aston Villa respectively, this is not what we expect. Granted he has scored 3 in 3 before this game for his country but are we convinced he is going to score every time he steps up? Bent’s counterpart in crime Jermaine Defoe has scored a respectable 8 goals for Tottenham this season and Peter Crouch has scored 11 but for England, other than Defoe’s hat-trick earlier this year against certainly inferior opposition, the Spurs pair have only managed to net on three different occasions. Certainly not concrete evidence that any of them have the right to lead the line along with a certain Wayne Rooney don’t you think?

I can’t help but notice a missing factor. A missing piece of the England jigsaw puzzle. Someone who is proven in international football and you have that “he’s going to score” feeling every time he has the ball in and around the opposition penalty area. His name is Michael Owen. Remember him? An England goal machine who at the age of just 32 has built up a grand total of 40 goals in 89 appearances for England, falling just nine short of Sir Bobby Charlton’s record. This season for Manchester United he has only played 17 times, 13 of which from the substitute bench for the last ten minutes of games, yet he still holds 5 goals to his name. Proof that the lad still has it. Owen is still as sharp and as clever as ever and has displayed this on a number of occasions this season in the little time he has had. I also challenge you to name one other English player, who one on one with the goalkeeper against Blackpool on the final day of the Premier League season, you would experience the sirens wailing in your head screaming “goal”, way before it had rattled the back of the net. On that day, he played just 20 minutes and it was him who crucially put the game to bed at 4-2.

Do you have that surety when Bent, Defoe, Crouch or any other English striker has beaten the offside trap? Or do you feel tense and nervous?

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, Michael Owen. England’s missing formula.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Tom

    June 5, 2011 at 6:28 PM

    Not completely sure why Michael’s goal against Blackpool is ‘crucial’, but aside from that, do you really think ‘just and ’32’ can be mentioned in the same sentence for an England international striker? Surely Capello has to look at least a couple of years younger for the Euros don’t you think?

  2. andy

    June 6, 2011 at 1:13 AM

    still at 32 owen is still a class player im sure if fergi played him more he would score a lot more for manu therefore would get in the england squad but unfortunatly he as opted to play a bit part for manu so cappelo will prob never pick him for england side

  3. Nicholas

    June 6, 2011 at 5:28 AM

    Yes, but looking at the current situation, looks like none of the young English strikers are really up to the mark. Perhaps Danny Welbeck or Andy Carroll. But Michael Owen is different. He has already shown countless times that he is a proven goalscorer. At just 32 and with 40 goals in 89 appearances for England, he certainly is not to be discounted. Just look at players like Miroslav Klose, 32, not playing regularly for Bayern, but still an automatic choice for Germany, 61 goals in 109 appearances and also Robbie Keane, close to 31, didn’t really play much this season, but also an automatic choice for Ireland, 51 goals in 108 appearances. The same can be said about Owen. It doesn’t matter much if that player is playing regularly for his club or not, but if he has been scoring regularly for the national team, then managers should still give them a chance, just like Klose and Keane.

  4. Foreign Fan

    June 6, 2011 at 6:34 AM

    Capello just deliberately snubbed Owen on personal matter. If fit, Owen never fail England in the past like Rooney in South Africa. Rooney might be the best in England but his unstable mentality led him to the like of ‘duck chasing rabbit’ game sometime on the pitch. Capello is the main glitch which sinks England boat now.

    If the FA replaces Capello with any coach, they will consider Michael Owen for England fooaball as even Man Utd master Sir Alex Fergusen have belief in him.

  5. Tom

    June 6, 2011 at 12:58 PM

    I think people just need to get along with Capello now, as they aren’t exactly going to bring anyone new in before the Euros so it’s best to support him fully. I think Owen’s stats speak more for 18 year-old Owen than 32 year-old Owen. And also the pedigree of England SHOULD, in theory, be a lot higher than Ireland’s, and comparing them to Republic isn’t exactly the best way to look at it. I’ll agree with Klose though. He’s a freak of nature.

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