Self confidence has never been a problem for Michael Owen.
We remember when he first appeared for Liverpool, playing in the fall of 1997, when he started scoring goals as a 17 year-old, and in one particular game, grabbed the ball to take a Liverpool penalty so nobody else could take it â€“ he scored.
But Michael is also mentally tough and this seems to have stood him in good stead over the last two injury plagued years.
Michael Owen – scoring on Wednesday night against Russia
Michael told the People today:
“Only a fool would have said ‘he won’t come back as good as he left the pitch’. “Obviously, if there were any fools out there then they’ll get proved wrong. I’ve always been strong mentally – even when I went down on the pitch against Sweden.â€
“I’ve been to the best surgeon in the world and the best rehab. I’ve come back and I’d like to think that I’m every bit as good as when I left.â€
“The 10 days with England and the 10 days before that with Newcastle have gone really well.â€ “To start the season like this is obviously fantastic for both teams and myself.”
We feel that Michael has also benefitted from the new training and fitness regime Sam Allardyce has put in place at Newcastle. It’s not by accident that Bolton Wanderers always had less injuries than any other premiership team while Sam was there. Sam puts as much time and effort into work to prevent injuries to his players, than anything else. That should do Newcastle a world of good this season after their appalling injury record over the last few seasons.
“You finish a game and want to go and have a few beers and celebrate – but nowadays no one does that.â€ “You just shake hands and enjoy it for 10 minutes but then straight away your mind is on the next game.â€
“You want to make sure you’re not too stiff and everything else. I have an ice bath, massage and then stretch.â€ â€œTo live the life of a footballer or any other sportsman you have to make a lot of sacrifices.â€
“You have to do everything the right way because, if you don’t, there are people out there that will get an advantage on you. Anything that I do is with the next game in mind.”
Michael is very confident ahead of tomorrow night’s game that Newcastle have at bottom placed Derby County as he continued:
“When you’re scoring goals you expect to score the next chance you get.â€ “It is a wonderful thing you wish you could bottle up and have it all the time.â€ “But if I play poorly on Monday then everyone will say that I’m rubbish again. But that’s the top and bottom of it.â€
“People forget about your last good game and focus on the poor one you have just had. Suddenly, your place is in doubt.â€
“That is probably why footballers get paid a lot. There is pressure on you sleeping, let alone when you’re playing.”
A win by Newcastle can see them in 3rd place in the league on Monday night after their best league start for 10 years. If Michael can remain fit this season it will be a tremendous boon to the new management team at Newcastle, which apart from Big Sam includes new chairman Chris Mort, owner Mike Ashley and a host of new faces Sam has brought into the Newcastle back-room staff.
If Newcastle can indeed keep Michael injury free – and the new players in the squad keep playing as well as they have started – then Newcastle could surprise a lot of teams this season.
What do you think?