Michael Owen is a striker for England and Newcastle United in the English Premier League. Owen burst onto the scene with his goals for Liverpool in 1997, and has been scoring for fun ever since. Having recovered from a cruciate ligament injury, Owen found he wasn’t as quick as he once was, but has the football brain, vision and technical ability to be in the right place at the right time regardless.
Michael Owen was born on 14th December 1979, in Chester, England. His father was a professional footballer, most notably for Chester City, and encouraged a young Michael to play as often as possible. He grew up just inside the Welsh border, and set all sorted of goalscoring records in both his School and Saturday league teams.
Because of his clinical finishing and ability Owen was chased by all the top clubs, including Manchester United and Arsenal, and opted to sign for Liverpool, even though he was an Everton fan! Liverpool enrolled him at the national academy, where he played with a young Alan Smith, but joined up with the Liverpool first-team after he had finished his GCSEs.
Michael Owen first rose to prominence with Liverpool with a hatrick against Manchester United in the 1996 FA Youth Cup Final. He was offered a professional contract on his 17th birthday, but had to wait until the end of the 96/97 season for his first team debut, in which he started his career with a well taken goal against Wimbledon.
With Robbie Fowler injured for the next season, Owen became the team’s first-choice striker, aged just 18. His sensational performances, embarrassing much older and wiser defenders with his clever runs and instinctive finishes, ensured that he was soon drafted into the England team. He won the PFA Young Player of the Year, and scored 18 league goals in his first impressive season.
Owen was one of the key-men for the next 6 years at Liverpool, winning the fans over with his unique brand of fast and furious football. He was one of the team’s best players as they romped to 5 trophies in the 2001 season, including the FA and League cups, and UEFA Cup. The prestigious European Footballer of the Year Ballon D’Or Award in 2001 confirmed Owen as one of the World’s very best strikers.
Injuries and form started to take their toll on Owen in the 03/04 season. The sacking of Gerard Houllier saw Rafa Benitez brought in, with his own ideas about who should play up-front. Owen was left out of their Champions League team at the start of the season, which prompted a bid from Real Madrid.
In spite of a good season with the Spaniards, the fact that they won no trophies meant that the playing staff were changed, with Robinho and Julio Baptista arrived, and causing Owen to be marginalised.
On 24th August 2005, Michael Owen signed for Newcastle United for a record fee of £16m. Owen chose to go to Newcastle to maximise his chances of first-team football, and getting into England’s World Cup 2006 team. Thousands of Toon fans turned out to see Owen sign, and cheered on his 7 goals in 10 games. Sadly his season was chopped short by a meta-tarsal injury rule him out for much of the season.
He returned to fitness in time for the World Cup, but was just a minute into the first group game against Sweden when he twisted his right knee badly, damaging his cruciate ligament and keeping him on the sidelines for another 12 months.
Further injuries such as a double hernia operation, hamstring strains and calf problems have caused Owen’s career to stutter, but once he is fit he is an incredibly important player for the Magpies.
Michael Owen burst on to the international scene when, as an eighteen year old, he ran rings round the Argentina back-line to equalise for England. The goal was voted as the ‘Goal of the Tournament’ and led to some massive bids from Inter Milan and Real Madrid for the young Englishman.
Owen linked up well with Heskey at Euro 2000, World Cup 2002 and Euro 2004, and was then the first-choice partner for Wayne Rooney at World Cup 2006, which ended with a cruciate ligament injury. Because of his injuries over the last few years, he has lost his first-team spot, but will be back at the forefront of coach Capello’s mind once he starts playing and scoring on a regular basis.