Michael Owen As Quick As Ever

Last week was certainly a great week for at least one Newcastle footballer and as we know Michael Owen seems back to his very best. His two opportunist goals in the first half on Wednesday night for England against Russia matched some of the great goals he has scored for England in the past.

Put away with excellent skill he looks to have come back with the predatory skills he has shown all his career.

And don’t believe talk about Michael having lost any speed. According to figures coming from the Newcastle training staff on Michael’s speed tests, he is as quick as ever.


Michael Owen – back to his world-class best? we think so

One thing our readers noted with his performances recently is that he looks a much better overall player these days. Not only has he not lost his predatory instincts but he can also set up the goals as he did for Rio Ferdinand on Wednesday evening. He also doesn’t give the ball away as much as he used to, always the sign of an experienced player.

Steve McClaren has talked about the man who has brought England back and they now have an excellent chance of European qualification for next year’s European Championships. Steve said:

“It is always a fear when someone has a long-term injury that they won’t come back as before,” “There has to be a doubt. You need to get over so many difficult barriers.”“But it is the same with every player.”

“Adversity either kills you or makes you stronger. When you are out for such a long time, you get to appreciate every aspect of a footballer’s life.”

“Michael has come back with renewed vigor and renewed motivation.” “The final barrier was, could he score? He can. He has answered everyone who has written him off.”

Emile Heskey excelled alongside Owen against both Israel and Russia but he will not be available for England’ next set of games having broken his metatarsal in yesterday’s Wigan game against Fulham. But it looks certain that McClaren will select another big man to play alongside Owen in those games.

McClaren to his credit kept Michael involved in the England set-up, inviting the former Liverpool star to training camps when he was injured:

“It is what you always want to do in those situations,” “We wanted to keep Michael in touch with our players. “He is important for us and it can be difficult when you are in the wilderness.”

“When you are in the gym on your own, you can easily get forgotten. Michael Owen was never forgotten.”

McClaren doesn’t think Owen has lost too much speed off the mark which saw him become a major star in the England – Argentina game in the 1998 World Cup. He was just 18 years old in that quarter final game and partnering Alan Shearer at the time. That’s when he scored that wonder goals for England in such an important match in which you may remember David Beckham was sent off.

McClaren continued:

“There is more maturity in his game,” “He knows what his job is, he knows what to do and he does it.”

“He drops back and links play and, at times, he even becomes a defender for us. He still has a bit of pace as well, which he has demonstrated to everyone.”

But if anyone wonders why Michael gets so much publicity, it’s simply because he can score at any time and on Wednesday night had England 2-0 up when he dispatched two half chances superbly. You could see the lift it gave the rest of the team – not to mention the England (and Newcastle) fans .

Steve went on:

“They were different goals and I don’t remember him doing that before,” “Michael is not just a six-yard man now. His game has evolved.” “He has always been a world-class striker and we have missed him.”

“He can be the difference between winning a game and drawing, or drawing a game and losing.“You can’t coach some of the things he does. The knack of being in the right place at the right time is something you are born with.”

Can he beat Ashington born and bred Bobby Charlton’s England goals record?

“Why not?” “As long as we keep creating chances for him. He is a great finisher.”

With Michael back to top form and now fully fit, we think he can help Newcastle finish high in the league. But it’s important that we keep Michael fit for the whole season, even if it means resting him now and again. Perhaps even at Derby on Monday evening. A fit Michael Owen can be worth an additional 10-15 points to Newcastle this season – he’s that good.

Comments very welcome.

12 comments so far

  • lew Davies

    Sep 16, 2007 at 9:19 AM

    Comment #1

    Ed- No way he should be rested for the Derby game.
    There are goals a plenty to be had and I’m sure he will be after filling his boots.
    Maybe take him off in 2nd half after he has scored a few, does make sense, but he really must start IMO.

  • jb

    Sep 16, 2007 at 9:33 AM

    Comment #2

    I personaly think big Sam will start with Martins and Ameobi on mon nite.. Owen will prop be rested, maybe 2nd half sub.

  • Will

    Sep 16, 2007 at 9:43 AM

    Comment #3

    Only if he is sufficiently rested tho, I’d be very interested in seeing Oba and Viduka starting and having Owein warming the bench. Europe here we come!

  • hadrian

    Sep 16, 2007 at 9:49 AM

    Comment #4

    owen has never been a six yard man , what got the lad famous was picking up the ball at the half way line , taking 3 players on on his way to goal before launching it in the back of the net .
    he’s not capible of that anymore and it shows, but with any quality striker , when they get to that point they need to evolve and get smarter , something its obvious micheal has done in spades .
    it was his positioning and reading of the game that has impressed me the most . he knows where the ball is going to go and gets in there when he needs to . hope his form continues like this .
    im looking for oba to compliment the holes in owens game , and its a big reason i think owen and oba should be on the pitch , oba’s pace means he’s capible of pulling off micheals old runs from the half way line , his strength means he can make those rocket goals like we saw at spurs , and his agility means we get to see some lovely voleys and overhead kicks .
    as much as im admiring big sams work , im demanding he keeps oba as happy as micheal .

  • Ken

    Sep 16, 2007 at 9:54 AM

    Comment #5

    I agree Ed, Michael does need to be rested at some point during the season. However, it is important that we maintain the spirit and morale that we had, going into the international break. Another 3pts at Pride Park and the squad spirit and morale will be maintained. No player likes to be left on the bench especially given the form Michael Owen is in. I would let him start. If we are winning after 70 minutes, then take him off and give him a rest.

  • Graeme

    Sep 16, 2007 at 9:55 AM

    Comment #6

    I dont see why we cant start with Owen AND Martins. Their pace will have Derby on the rack from the whistle. They will never cope with the two of them. A 3-4-3 system would be ok against Derby and with the Duke in between them, there could be a bag full of goals available.

    If we are going to be in the top 6, these teams have to be taken apart – with no disrespect to Derby, but they are already looking like relegation favourites. A convincing win is all that is required.

  • Midjew

    Sep 16, 2007 at 9:56 AM

    Comment #7

    Personally I would love to see Owen AND Martins Playing together, The Spring Martins has makes him get so high and win headers they are different players i think it would work!!

  • jeff

    Sep 16, 2007 at 10:03 AM

    Comment #8

    Whats the point of resting Michael Owen?He is on fire at the moment and his confidence is sky high,he is a certain starter on monday.If he is on the bench he will have more chance of getting injured when he comes on to try and get into the pace of the game….Why rest a player when he is firing makes no sense to me what so ever…Alot of toon fans moaned when he was injured that we hadnt saw enough of him in a toon shirt,now he is back and back scoring goals and looking fit and strong people want him rested,I cant work it out….If you say its cos he’s been out so long he needs a rest……bollocks!!!! A player with confidence can cope.

  • Ed Harrison

    Sep 16, 2007 at 10:18 AM

    Comment #9

    jeff – just thinking caution – hate to see him injured – but you’re right he is on fire.

  • Ed Harrison

    Sep 16, 2007 at 10:20 AM

    Comment #10

    Will – it looks like Viduka may not start according to his injury status on http://www.physioroom.com/news/english_premier_league/epl_injury_table.php

  • dragoner

    Sep 16, 2007 at 11:14 AM

    Comment #11

    just hoping Martins doesn’t end up wantin gto leave

  • t-g-w

    Sep 16, 2007 at 11:25 AM

    Comment #12

    We must remember that Oba is not the finished article – hadrian speaks of Oba pulling off goals like Owen’s in 1998. From what I have seen of Martins, he is a poor dribbler of the ball and ends up losing it quite a lot. It is also foolish to suggest that just because Owen isn’t running round players like that wonder goal against Argentina that he is no longer as good. That was a wonder goal – something that is not repeated often if ever. Does Messi produce goals like that one he scored from the halfway line every game? Exactly. If we don’t respect Derby we will get beaten.


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