Sam Allardyce has given a very interesting interview to Paul Gilder of the Newcastle Journal today regarding Michael Owen’s fitness and the upcoming England games that Michael will, in all likelihood, be participating in.
Sam is OK with Owen spearheading Englandâ€™s attempts in their European 2008 qualification campaign, but Allardyce will ask McClaren not to make too many demands on a player who Sam feels remains vulnerable.
Sam Allardyce – he and the medical staff decide when Owen is fit – not Michael
Sam told the Newcastle Journal today:
â€œIt would be unfair to put too much pressure on Michael Owen at the moment,â€
â€œI mean that from our point of view and from Englandâ€™s point of view.
â€œItâ€™s safe to say that we will bring Michael into the squad (for tomorrowâ€™s first home match) after his two appearances this week.”
“But heâ€™s still lacking match practice. Heâ€™s fit from the injury, but we wouldnâ€™t say heâ€™s 100% match fit.”
“Thatâ€™s the reason for organizing the two games for him to catch up.â€
Owen declared himself fully fit following his appearance last Monday against Blue Star at Kingston Park, but Allardyce sensibly will depend upon his medical team to provide a definitive ruling, not on Michael.
It seems to us that Michael is always very keen to play for England which is not unusual but sometimes he wants to play even when he is not fully fit â€“ and that has certainly impacted his Newcastle career.
Sam went on:
â€œLike all players, heâ€™s going to say heâ€™s fit before he is,â€
â€œBut I have to stop all players being impatient when theyâ€™ve been injured.”
“As soon as players come back and take part in a training session or feature in a reserve game, theyâ€™ll insist that theyâ€™re ready.â€
â€œBut theyâ€™re footballers and Iâ€™m a manager.”
“The sports scientists and medical people are the experts. We take their judgment rather than the playerâ€™s.â€
â€œThe player has a big say in how he feels and what his problems are, thereâ€™s no doubt about that.”
“But we have to override their impatience sometimes for their benefit, for my benefit, for everyoneâ€™s benefit.â€
â€œYou have to look at whatâ€™s best in the long run, use your experience and listen to everyoneâ€™s opinion and make up your mind as manager from there.”
“Once the manager has made his mind up, heâ€™s made his mind up. Thatâ€™s the end of it.â€
It seems likely as though Allardyce will have Owen on the bench when Martin Oâ€™Neilâ€™s Aston Villa arrive for tomorrow nightâ€™s Premier League match. However, he will not oppose the playerâ€™s participation in next weekâ€™s friendly against Germany at Wembley.Â Allardyce feels the chance to get further football under his belt in England colors will prove beneficial to United and he will seek talks with McClaren after this weekendâ€™s game to discuss the subject.
We think this is why Owen sustained his horrific injury during the world cup â€“ everything was geared to him coming back for England last summer but he played only half a game for Newcastle toward the end of the 2005-2006 season. He wasn’t match fit last summer and suffered his injury and was out for almost a season. Sam is subtly pointing that out since we don’t want that to happen again.
â€œThe only problem with Michael is the match practice heâ€™s lacking, but there are games coming up for the first team and the reserves, behind-closed-doors games and England matches, all in a short period of time,â€
â€œIf players are fit, theyâ€™ll get called up by their countries and thereâ€™s not much you can do about it.”
“I make people aware of the situation with them, wherever they may be playing, and if they do go and play for their countries, I hope theyâ€™ll be looked after.â€
â€œIâ€™ll speak to Steve after the weekend because weâ€™ll have a better view of it then. Michaelâ€™s a bit more in the forefront after Rooneyâ€™s injury, thatâ€™s obvious.”
“Steve has to get ready for the qualifiers (next month) and this game could be a good exercise for Michael Owen, Steve McClaren and Newcastle United.â€
Owen of course has endured an 18-month nightmare with various injuries, but as he attempts to help the player put his problems behind him, Allardyce has urged Michael to focus on the future.
â€œPeople dwell too much on the past in this game, and in life.”
“If itâ€™s in the past, you canâ€™t do anything about it. You can learn from it.”
“You take what you can and move forward and look to the future.â€
â€œ Thatâ€™s the most important thing for us all. Michaelâ€™s relieved to have come through the two games with no reaction and itâ€™s good news for me and for everyone at the club.”
“Michael Owen is Michael Owen, heâ€™s a goalscorer.â€
Some Sam philosophies there about life that are so true.
Sam is right in what he says and that’s why his injury record at Bolton was so good. We’re sure we’ll see improvements in our injury record as we progress through this season - touch wood there’s been no new injuries for a couple of weeks now.