McClaren Faith In Owen Fully Rewarded

Steve McClaren cannot believe his luck in the way Michael Owen has dramatically returned to form.

There have been many doubters that Owen would ever return to his previous form after those two terrible injuries Michael has had during his time at Newcastle.

This doubt was witnessed by not one club willing to bid the release clause fee of ₤9M for him this summer.


Michael Owen – ₤9M now looks so cheap for the England star but that’s water under the bridge

Michael’s return to form will not only benefit England but also Newcastle as Owen in all likelihood will become fitter than he’s ever been in his career under Sam Allardyce’s new fitness regime there. Indeed, Owen did not just score 3 goals for England but looked a much better all-round player than in the past – and his work-rate was first class.

Let’s take a look at what a thankful Steve McClaren said after the England game last night.

“I mentioned weeks ago that you should never write off Michael Owen because he is always going to be so important for us.” “He has scored in his last four games. He’s fitter, sharper and it’s not just his goals that were so impressive tonight.”

“He’s dropping in, linking up and working hard. He’s a very good player at this moment in time and the partnership with Heskey has really worked in the last two games.”

“Emile has been out of the England scene for the last three years and everyone wondered whether he would come back and play for us again.” “But he has come back and shown everyone what he can do.”

“Emile had an excellent game against Israel on Saturday and the big test was to turn in that same level of performance again tonight. He has done that – a few players have.” “And that’s what we need to do if we’re going to succeed in the big tournaments – to play consistently and win games on the bounce.”

If England can get a victory at home to Estonia and at least a draw in Moscow in the return with Russia next month, they will need just one point from their last game, at home to unbeaten Croatia in November, to qualify for next year’s finals. That’s certainly now a good possibility and we expect McClaren to start the next game with an unchanged England side – barring any injuries. Whether he will or not we think will send a crucial message to his squad.

McClaren continued:

“Six points from these two games were vital when we joined up 10 days ago. I said to the players that it didn’t matter how we got them. I would have settled for a couple of scrappy 1-0s.” “But the performances we have put in against Israel and Russia are what have really pleased me.”

“I’m greatly satisfied with what I’ve seen. For me, that is how England should play.” “We’ve set a marker. Now we’ve got to maintain that standard.”

McClaren then acknowledged he will have a number of selection problems when the likes of Rooney, David Beckham, Frank Lampard, Gary Neville and Owen Hargreaves are all available again.

Steve went on:

“For now we will just celebrate this win and enjoy the performance.” “I’m very happy with the way the squad has been over the last 10 days.”“It’s a very internal thing between myself, the players and the staff. It wasn’t just Emile’s partnership with Michael which pleased me.” “Gareth Barry has done well and Stevie G, Micah Richards did well along with Shaun Wright-Phillips.”

“We’ve got good things going on all over the pitch.” “It was very important to get off to a good start and to capitalize on it with an early goal. There were spells in the game when we weren’t dominant, when we were poor and started to lose our grip.”

“So we’ll keep our feet on the ground because we’ve still got three games to go and we know we can still get better.”

Steve McClaren now needs to be strong in his team selection and keep the same team for the next game. Bringing back the more established players isn’t sending the right message to the England players – that they all have to fight for the England shirt. It also says that their inclusion is based on how they play for England and not just how they play for their clubs.

If any of the England players doesn’t like that message -tough luck.

Comments welcome.

10 comments so far

  • big pea ov the weab

    Sep 13, 2007 at 11:20 AM

    Comment #1

    owen is the man hope he signs a new deal soon !!!!!!!!

  • Jeff D

    Sep 13, 2007 at 11:50 AM

    Comment #2

    Two cool goals, from a class act.I,m glad hes a toon player. Those two goals could have taken apart any team in the world.I hope his current form continues.My only concern is that Viduka can’t support him like hesky did.

  • Essex Bill (Formerly Bill F)

    Sep 13, 2007 at 12:23 PM

    Comment #3

    Michael did more than score last night, his work rate was terrific, just hope he keeps it going for us. I don’t doubt his committment just his fitness.

  • dragoner

    Sep 13, 2007 at 12:44 PM

    Comment #4

    i wouldnt say his two goals could take apart any team, it was pretty poor defending, especially for his first one

  • dragoner

    Sep 13, 2007 at 12:45 PM

    Comment #5

    when he starts scoring plenty of goals in the black & white THEN i will be happy he is a Toon player

  • Hadji

    Sep 13, 2007 at 12:51 PM

    Comment #6

    Out of topic…How bout Branislav Ivanovic for January,my Russian and Serbian recourses have told me that while Vidic(Man Utd) and Ivanovic were still in the Russian league that Ivanovic was much better.
    Sinisa Mihajlovic described this guy as one of the best defenders in the world in 3 years from now on,the bad news is that Juventus has struck a pre agreement with this player.Last year this player costed no more than 400k.
    He would be perfect for Newcastle as he’s only 23,and in my view he’s gonna be even better than Vidic.

  • Hadji

    Sep 13, 2007 at 12:52 PM

    Comment #7

    Dragoner..What do you think?

  • dragoner

    Sep 13, 2007 at 1:22 PM

    Comment #8

    if he is better than vidic you cant really argue can you? lol

  • Rob Kirton

    Sep 13, 2007 at 2:26 PM

    Comment #9

    Jeff D: Don’t worry. Heskey is not fit to even lace Vidukas boot’s

    dragoner: Agree with you, though it must only be a case of staying fit. Owen’s goal game ratio at NUFC is better than anybody else in the squad. I’m sure he’ll do the biz.

  • SW

    Sep 13, 2007 at 9:50 PM

    Comment #10

    So what do we do when he leaves next summer?

    (sorry for the cynicism)


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