Michael Owen Looking Sharper With Every Game

England scored a very comfortable win yesterday against a woeful looking Israel side. Our very own Michael Owen continued his recuperation with a tremendous goal after 49 minutes from outside the penalty box.

Michael could have had another two and he again looked sharp and played the full 90 minutes.

One of these days Michael is going to put these half chances away and he’ll have another Newcastle hat-trick. Maybe against Derby County a week tomorrow?

It was a good performance by England and calmed the nerves of the fans and manager Steve McClaren, who can be very pleased with the result and the performance. Now for a win against Russia on Wednesday.


Michael Owen – looking more and more like the Owen of old

Shaun Wright-Phillips gave England a 20th minute-lead against the listless Israel side, with Michael Owen and Micah Richards scoring in the second half to cement a very good win for England. Steve McClaren was obviously pleased after the game with his side – who played very well:

“It was a good win and a good performance,” “But we have to follow it up on Wednesday, that is the key message.” “We played as a team, the crowd really got behind the team and we will need that on Wednesday.”

“It was important to win,” “I would have taken 1-0, I’m pleased with three but disappointed we did not score more, but the performance was the icing on the cake. They played very well today.” “They made Israel look ordinary. I’m sure Russia will watch our video and not relish coming to Wembley on that performance.”

“We made it a comfortable win against a difficult side. Russia will be as tough and we need the same performance. We’ve set a standard and have to do it again on Wednesday.” “There has been a lot of pressure on Shaun but he has been in good form for Chelsea and he exploited the weaknesses of Israel’s full-backs,”

“Emile did his job,” “He made life difficult for Israel’s defenders. He is a more mature player and handled the situation well.” “No-one likes playing against him. His attitude and work rate was the main thing. He and Michael Owen combined well and always have done.”

“I said we had players in that dressing room who were good enough.” “The likes of Gareth Barry were excellent. So were Wright-Phillips and Heskey. Barry has quality and showed he could handle the stage, the big occasion.”

On Michael Owen’s performance Steve was again complimentary:

“I’m delighted for him,” “There has been a lot of criticism and pressure on him. Typical Michael Owen, he answers it with three goals in three games.”

We have to agree with Steve on that one. Michael has taken a lot of stick but you don’t get to be have Owen’s status without having both the skill and the tough character he has shown over the last year or so. We believe this is a real personal triumph for Michael after so many people have doubted him. But he still has that predatory instinct which is now showing through more and more. And although he may not look it he is as tough as nails.

Steven Gerrard, played without a pain-killing injection in his broken toe and was substituted in the second-half after suffering some cramp. There was also a very good 85,000 crowd at Wembley.

We saw the game on TV yesterday where Russia beat Macedonia 3-0 even thought they were down to 10 men after their goalkeeper was dismissed in the second half. The replacement goalkeeper came in and saved the penalty. After that Russia grew again in confidence and scored 2 late goals to win the game 3-0. One good thing from an England perspective is their strikers are very weak and will find it difficult to score against England on Wednesday.

Russia now have one more point than England, who are now third in Group E, three points behind leaders Croatia. But the job is really just half done and a win against Russia on Wednesday is vital and will put us right back in contention to qualify for the finals next year.

Comments welcome.

9 comments so far

  • Graeme

    Sep 9, 2007 at 9:45 AM

    Comment #1

    As has been stated several times before, Michael Owen is a class performer. He has had a serious injury and these things take time to recover from. Oncew the healing is completed, regaining fitness has to be achieved followed by getting match fitness.

    Owen looked rusty for us in his first matches, but BSA was very quick to point out how much sharper he looked after 3 games for us and 1 for England. Since then, he has played longer in each match, completeing a full 90 minutes several times and now looks almost to be back to the top of his game.

    He is a world class striker, its as simple as that. Form is temporary, Class is permanent. Owen is back, we should be delighted as he will score goals all season long.

  • Lamesley Mag

    Sep 9, 2007 at 10:11 AM

    Comment #2

    Owen played well, getting himself into positions to score a hat-trick although he only scored once. His goal was instinctive and well taken; i.e. no need to look up and see location of goal before taking shot.

    Now looking forward to Wednesday; more Owen goal(s) and another 3 points….

  • Rich

    Sep 9, 2007 at 10:50 AM

    Comment #3

    Youve missed a story Ed:


    Rozey wants to stay for ever :D.

  • Sinead

    Sep 9, 2007 at 12:35 PM

    Comment #4

    He was allright, made some bad descions, missed an open goal. His goal was good but like people say he’s back to his own self cause he scored a good goal. I don’t know I don’t think he’ll ever be like his old self.

  • hadrian

    Sep 9, 2007 at 12:49 PM

    Comment #5

    i agree ed , all these missed chances from owen are only going to turn into hat-tricks once the lad is up and running properly .
    in light of all the next contracts being thrown about , id like to see owen sign a new one , at least keeping him here as long as sams contract runs .
    saying that, its probably going tobe harder to hold allerdyce down than owen , if the england managers job comes up that is .

  • Alex

    Sep 9, 2007 at 12:53 PM

    Comment #6

    Never doubted he would not start scoring again but he looks a lot stronger than ever before.Now that he has played 4×90 minutes on the run nobody can say he is not match fit.With another 2or 3 games his sharpness will also be back then the half chances that he has missed will be turned into goals.

  • Murvar

    Sep 9, 2007 at 12:58 PM

    Comment #7

    He went round the keeper perfectly, and having made a clever run; all he did wrong for that one was to go for goal instead of stopping, waiting for the defender to slide harmlessly towards the hoardings and then he could have flicked it up to nod into the empty net. Like Pedro might have done (can’t you just see him?) But as Sinead says, it was those decisions – as with the second attempt after he nearly gave the goalkeeper the need of a face transplant. With more games and match sharpness he would have taken that fraction of a second more time. Even superstars can get over-anxious to score, and in a month’s time he would have converted both. Don’t worry, folks, this guy is as instinctive as Al and both have or will overcome major injuries and just keep on scoring as they always did. I can’t wait to see Barton playing with Maycal Ern -our midfield is a bit too samey with Butt, Geremi and Smith in it, JB will add creativity.

  • hadrian

    Sep 9, 2007 at 1:22 PM

    Comment #8

    forgot to say , twas a sneaky old block on the keeper for richards goal by owen ehh? getting crafty aswell as smarter in his old age , something big all woulda done that 🙂

  • Ed Harrison

    Sep 9, 2007 at 1:46 PM

    Comment #9

    Hadrian – I agree about a new contract with Owen – think Newcastle were just waiting for him to show his old form – be great if we can keep him at Newcastle then we’ve got them all tied up – and ready to roll!!
    It will also help us attract world class players having Michael and the others at the club.


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