Owen the Toast of England

If ever a player signaled he is back to his world best it was Michael Owen in the last two games for England. We have to remember these were two massive games for England – that they had to win to ensure they can still qualify for the European finals next year.

They not only won both games but played probably the best we have seen from an England side in many years.

Guts and glory is what it was all about but why the change in England’s fortunes? We’ll take a look but it’s seems a simple lesson for England manager Steve McClaren.


Michael Owencelebrates scoring for the 40th time for England last night

Steve McClaren, either through great foresight or because of so many injuries to the squad, or pure luck, picked players who actually played well together as a team. What a concept.

Up front Heskey has always played well with Michael Owen, and he did in the last two games, taking all the heat off the smaller striker so he could poach in the penalty area, which he did with good effect and 3 great goals. Heskey was so good that Newcastle fans are now wondering if Newcastle should sign him.

We’ve never much liked Heskey but we have to admit that he has played two excellent games for England and our congratulations go out to Emile, not only for his performances against all odds, but for his guts and determination. We’ll never underestimate the man again.

The other big partnership that worked for England is the central midfield of Gerrard and Gareth Barry. Barry has long been ignored by England (and Eriksson in particular) and played in left central midfield and seemed to actually enjoy playing with the great Steven Gerrard.

Many fans in the past have insisted that Lampard and Gerrard are just too similar to be a good pair together and that has been proved a number of times in England games. The best team is not always the combination of the best 11 players – because it’s always going to be a team game. Gerrard and Barry were outstanding, but where Gareth Barry will be in England’s next game is debatable – we hope it’s not on the bench.

Where all this leaves Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney, David Beckham and Owen Hargreaves is not clear. They are good players but we think Steve McClaren should stick with the players that have rescued both him and England these last few days.

Why? Because they deserve it and no longer should we automatically pick the stars when they are available. They should be judged by their England performances. What a concept that is – but if we do that – gone will be the days when England look so lackadaisical and out of sorts.

Michael Owen now has 40 goals for England and is only 9 goals behind the record of the great Bobby Charlton. We now wonder just how many goals Michael will eventually get for England – and for his club Newcastle?

Comments very welcome.

9 comments so far

  • Callum

    Sep 13, 2007 at 8:58 AM

    Comment #1

    Owen is definately looking really sharp now, I cant wait for the Derby game now and whilst Owen is grabbing all the headlines dont forget that Oba Martins will have something to say about that which can only be good for Newcastle 😀

  • Lamesley Mag

    Sep 13, 2007 at 9:52 AM

    Comment #2

    Owen scored 2 goals and made the other; a very good nights work……

    England played well although Russia should/could have scored several if they’d had a Michael Owen in their team.

    McClaren has to keep the same team for the next game, injury permitting and let Lampard, Rooney, Beckham, etc to fight for their place in the team.

    Bodes well for Newcastle as Owen’s firing on all cylinders. Viduka will partner Owen up front this weekend with Martins and Ameobi on the bench to keep the pair on their toes. Terrific strength in depth!

  • philsta

    Sep 13, 2007 at 10:59 AM

    Comment #3

    Owen has grabbed much of the attention with his goals, and his return to full fitness is undoubtedly very welcome. After watching the game however, I am extremely impressed by 2 things that few poeple have mentioned about, awareness and passing.

    Owen has amazing awareness in terms of positioning and knowing where the defenders are. Owen has this ability that few strikers have, to find space in a whole group of bodies and to recieve the ball despite him being one of the smallest players up the pitch.

    Just as impressively however is his available to provide a good pass. Owen didn’t give away the ball much at all throughout the game but also made some good forward passes to Heskey, SWP, Cole allowing them to attack or A.cole for his shot against Israel. Indeed ofcourse he assisted Ferdinand for his good finish.

    People should be giving him even more credit that he’s not only a world class goalscorer, but also a very good team player.

  • hadrian

    Sep 13, 2007 at 4:48 PM

    Comment #4

    stars should never walk straight into a team , the england squad should always be selected on form .

  • Ed Harrison

    Sep 13, 2007 at 9:31 PM

    Comment #5

    philsta – I agree – the way we said it – is that he looks a much more complete player. He set up Heskey beautifully in the Saturday game – he looks good all around and very rarely gives the ball away. Of course scoring goals is important too 😀

  • perry

    Sep 14, 2007 at 5:25 AM

    Comment #6

    Agree with all of u. Heskey and Owen partnership is a class. I dont expect this can happened with partnership of Owen and Rooney. England should keep this partnership for the next match if they want to succeed. Anyway, I enjoy the match. Do you guys agree?

  • Ed Harrison

    Sep 14, 2007 at 3:59 PM

    Comment #7

    perry – yes I do.

  • Dogde

    Oct 8, 2007 at 6:18 PM

    Comment #8

    I dunno about newcastle but I know as an england supporter f*&k am I glad owens back and scoring. I just wish he stayed at liverpool

  • adie

    Nov 30, 2007 at 12:02 PM

    Comment #9

    owen is england most key attacking player he suited liverpools way of play he is one of the best finishers infront of goal we need he back from injury and fit again if we have any hope of doing well in any compeative cups


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