Owen’s First Priority Must Be Newcastle, Not England


Whoever told Dudley Rogg, Director and Founder of the British Hernia Center, that anybody needed his opinion on if and when Michael Owen should have a hernia operation?

Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce has already made a statement that Michael Owen doesn’t need a hernia operation and  should be ready to play for Newcastle on Sunday against West Ham, in a crucial game for the club.

So what’s going on here?

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Michael Owen – first priority has to be the club who pays his wages

Despite this background, Rogg has the nerve to say he’s confident that if Owen did undergo surgery now, he would be back in time to play  in England’s European 2008 qualifier against Estonia on October 13 and the trip to Russia four days later. Really, and how many more games would Michael miss for the club who pays his wages – Newcastle United?

Here’s what Rogg said today:

“With the modern treatment now available, we have footballers back on the pitch within 14 days experiencing no further problems.”

“Unless Sam Allardyce delays the surgery – which will not only put Michael Owen at serious risk of making his hernia worse, but experiencing recurring problems – our experience suggests he should easily be fighting fit for England’s next European qualifier against Estonia on October 13.”

Michael already missed the whole of last season by rushing back to play for England.  It’s obviously better for the club – if Michael is indeed to have an operation  – that he have the operation during the international break. That way he would miss fewer games for his club, Newcastle.

So here’s where we get into the club versus country argument, but let’s remember Michael’s substantial wages are being paid by Newcastle – and not by England. Yes, we know Owen’s a great player and vital for England. We also know Michael loves playing for his country and we all want England to do well – we know all about that.But one reason Michael missed nearly the whole of last season (when Newcastle finished in a disappointing 14th position) was because he was brought back by England, without being fully match fit, for last year’s World Cup in Germany. Because of this he suffered a terrible ACL knee injury, the worst injury of his career.

So we’re not sure Newcastle will want to go too much out of their way to help England again.

What do you think?  Are we being too pragmatic over this?  Too protective of Newcastle’s interests?Let us know – comments always welcome.



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42 comments so far

  • Roger - Whitley Bay Mag

    Sep 20, 2007 at 4:23 PM

    Comment #1

    I am completely sick of hearing about England everytime Owen is injured. Choose the most convenient time for Newcastle if an operation is necessary which therefore has to be when there is a break for international football. Complete no brainer.

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  • Pete

    Sep 20, 2007 at 4:33 PM

    Comment #2

    Rubbish, we may pay his wages but he makes a lot LOT more money from the sponsership he gets from playing in high profile international matches.

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  • Frank

    Sep 20, 2007 at 4:40 PM

    Comment #3

    Operate on him now for the sake of the club, because Oba will be away in January to the African Cup (and if every other striker gets picked ahead of him, he’ll be desperate to be away in the summer). Now Viduka is saying he’ll be playing on Sunday, so where does that leave Oba? He must be sick. Then Shearer comes out with how wonderful Viduka and Owen are together – oh really? Does anyone realise that Oba has scored three goals already and he’s hardly played?

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  • Craig Allen

    Sep 20, 2007 at 4:40 PM

    Comment #4

    And playing in those international matches without belonging to club is possible how? NUFC pays his wages. NUFC is the employer. Michael Owen is the employee. International duty is like outsourcing without tangible returns (remuneration). Yes, he may make much more from sponsorships. But if he;s not playing for a club – who will sponsor him? He’ll not be seen wearing/using any of the sponsors equipment if not for club games which are more regular than internationals. Let’s not forget who the employer is here.

    On another note, if Owen truly is injured, then Sam;s just hit another nail in his career at nufc’s coffin – else, this doctor’s just looking for another pay cheque and free publicity. Hope it’s the latter and that Owen’s quite fine.

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  • Benoz

    Sep 20, 2007 at 4:47 PM

    Comment #5

    I’m not english and do not support england but any players 1st loyalty should be to his country. That said, if Owen needed a hernia op I’m sure the club would get one for him – who wants to take a chance with an asset like Owen?

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  • Josh

    Sep 20, 2007 at 4:48 PM

    Comment #6

    Wow petey, nice nonsensical jibberish!

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  • Doctapaul

    Sep 20, 2007 at 4:54 PM

    Comment #7

    All I’ve read Sam say is “he’s fine”. He didn’t categorically say that “no, a hernia op isn’t needed”. Did I miss something?

    Owen’s first duty is to look after himself. There’s no point in exascerbating any injury unnecessarily. He runs the risk of being out of the game again for an extended period. Lose-lose-lose – Owen, Newcastle & England.

    So I hope he doesn’t risk further injury in an attempt to play for England’s remaining Euro 08 qualifiers. If he does and goes missing for another half season – there’ll be a few pi$$ed off supporters.

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  • Benoz

    Sep 20, 2007 at 5:05 PM

    Comment #8

    Why would a person who is ‘fine need a hernia op?
    What do you think fine means – thin?
    for f&*(ks sake!

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  • Lamesley Mag

    Sep 20, 2007 at 5:14 PM

    Comment #9

    If there’s a need for an operation, it has to be completed in advance of Martins heading for the African Nations Cup in January….

    If we can accomodate the England side as to when an operation is performed, that’s ok, but NUFC must come first!

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  • Doctapaul

    Sep 20, 2007 at 5:26 PM

    Comment #10

    Duh – Benoz, I dunno. Pls enlighten me what fine means.

    Fine to play on Sunday or fine, ok, de nada, zero, zilch, he doesn’t have a problem, no problems whatsoever.

    It’s called reading between the lines or being economical with the truth. Or do you extrapolate everyuthing Sam says as gospel, end of FFS?

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  • Steeley

    Sep 20, 2007 at 5:46 PM

    Comment #11

    The bottom line is – we pay his wages so we pick when he gets the op! If he’s to be out for 4-6 weeks then he needs the op at least 2 months before the African Nations starts in January (in case of problems) – this means he needs to have the Op by the end of Nov latest. Now that does mean that he can fit the World Cup qualifiers in and then have the op, however, if giving him the op before then so he misses less club games and doesnt play for England at all then that is the priority!
    I am an England fan, but club comes before country…ALWAYS!!
    And to be honest, if the little sh*t insists on leaving it; goes to play for England; and then gets injured again then I swear I will hire a hitman to take both him and McLaren out!

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  • yemozone

    Sep 20, 2007 at 5:51 PM

    Comment #12

    The best thing is to cash in on Owen in JANUARY and probably buy a younger striker that is injury free.

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  • Snake

    Sep 20, 2007 at 5:51 PM

    Comment #13

    i think any other club would have the op done in the international break, example Ronaldo at man u, theres no way in hell they’d let him play for portugal over them. As for Oba he needs games, damn good player and the best prospect we’ve got by a million miles!

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  • nightfall

    Sep 20, 2007 at 5:52 PM

    Comment #14

    if owen needs an operation…he must have one….yesterday…
    …and let martins play…or he might just leave in january…

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  • Tom_toon

    Sep 20, 2007 at 5:56 PM

    Comment #15

    cash in on owen, sick of all these injuries, i dont think my nan has been injured this much in her 96 years and i heard she was stil,a notorious netball player at 88 🙂

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  • Steve

    Sep 20, 2007 at 6:34 PM

    Comment #16

    Stuff England – If Owen requires an op then he should have it in the international break – give him a month off so he’s fully recovered and Oba gets to play a few games

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  • Hammy

    Sep 20, 2007 at 6:40 PM

    Comment #17

    Oba must be shite sick…..a half fit Owen keeping him out the team….
    Owen is a goal poacher who largely relies on service and balls in the box,
    Martins can do that but can also do some long range canon ball shooting out of the box. Personally I thought BSA was wrong to start the fragile Owen after 2 Internationals in a week. Let’s give Oba a few games……

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  • yemozone

    Sep 20, 2007 at 6:54 PM

    Comment #18

    I think BSA is playing Owen b/4 martins b’cos Owen is his countryman.If Bog sam has been starting martins ahead of Owen ,he would have scored more than the 3 goals he’s having so far.

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  • Hadji

    Sep 20, 2007 at 6:56 PM

    Comment #19

    As long as BSA prefers big man & small man we’re gonna have this problem with Owen.
    4-4-3 hasn’t showed good for us at all,i’d go for 4-3-1-2 anytime
    Beye—–Cacapa——Rozehnal——Enrique
    ——Milner——-Geremi——N’Zogbia
    ——————-Smith——————————
    ———Martins————Owen——————
    Tom toon i agree about the January sale,enough is enough.

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  • Doctapaul

    Sep 20, 2007 at 7:24 PM

    Comment #20

    I like your selection and formation Hadji. Newcastle have played well without a tall striker in the past. Think Beardsley Keegan and years later Beardsley and Cole. It places more responisbility on the midfield technically, tactically and speed to deliver balls into space. Wioth that in mind I’d put Barton ahead of Milner.

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  • Graeme

    Sep 20, 2007 at 8:16 PM

    Comment #21

    If Owen needs a hernia op then the best time HAS to be the International break. Best time for NUFC therefore best time for Owen. McLaren comes a long way second in that choice. As the Prof said, he can have the Op and be back on the pitch, good as new, in 2-3 weeks with minimal loss or disruption to NUFC.

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  • Toon Chicken

    Sep 20, 2007 at 8:44 PM

    Comment #22

    yemozone – “I think BSA is playing Owen b/4 martins b’cos Owen is his countryman.If Bog sam has been starting martins ahead of Owen ,he would have scored more than the 3 goals he’s having so far.”

    Simple fact: Michael Owen scores around about one goal every 2 games.

    That is a priceless commodity in any level of football. Obafemi Martins, as good as he is, cannot (yet) replicate anywhere that kind of goalscoring form.

    It is for that reason and that reason alone that every coach, not just Sam Allardyce, picks Michael Owen for every game he is fit to play in.

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  • Roger - Whitley Bay Mag

    Sep 20, 2007 at 8:46 PM

    Comment #23

    A quick follow up on Pete’s comment…I do not care about how many sponsorships Owen has and how much money he may or may not make from international football consequently. I do care however about NUFC who pay his wages and provide him with a platform to be selected for England.

    As I said earlier if he needs an operation then it should be when there is a break for international football. That is the most sensible and convenient time for us. If Owen feels differently then we should move him on. I supported Newcastle for many years before we signed Owen and will be supporting them for many years after he has long gone.

    On a different note..we should stop playing 4-3-3, not play Smith wide in either a midfield 3 or 4 and not play Shola again. I have always stuck up for Shola but having travelled down to Derby on Monday night have reached my ‘Titus Bramble’ moment with him and do not want to see him in a B&W shirt again. We also need width in midfield and with the current players available should play Zog wide left and move Milner back to the right as part of a midfield 4. If Smith is to play then let him compete for the striking role with Viduka.

    Also…we have only seen Enrique against Barnsley, where he looked quite classy, because he is apparently not yet fit…does anyone know if he is related to either Marcelino or Luque? I do hope not.

    Keep the faith.

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  • Andy T

    Sep 20, 2007 at 8:53 PM

    Comment #24

    Lets face it the next international break is 1 week, added to that it against bloody Estonia – at home! If Mclaren cant rub together 2 strikers to score against Estonia then he deserves to lose his Job – maybe Morihno can have it and we still keep big Sam. If it wer me like… I’d play him on Sunday and tell him to get his arse off the pitch if it even twinged. Have him re-assessed after the match and then book him up for an Op after that. Then I’d phone Mclaren and tell him he’s injured and wont be available for selection until beginning of November.

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  • Toon Chicken

    Sep 20, 2007 at 8:59 PM

    Comment #25

    It seems like a lot on here would rather believe Alan Oliver than our own manager (who said Owen is fine).
    Bloody hell people – things haven’t got that bad have they??

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  • Soren

    Sep 20, 2007 at 9:36 PM

    Comment #26

    Owen needs to play Newcastle before the England National team. It’s unlucky he has been injured for so long, but now, I think we have shown patience with him. Paying his big wages and waiting for him to play. I would be angry to see him go play for England and get injured again. I don’t think he has to play against Estonia. And about this hernia operation. If Big Sam says he doesn’t need it, he doesn’t! press talk…

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  • Hadji

    Sep 20, 2007 at 10:51 PM

    Comment #27

    Doctapaul….No doubt about Barton instead Milner,i just put Milner cause of Barton’s injury at the moment.

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  • Ken

    Sep 20, 2007 at 11:05 PM

    Comment #28

    I agree with what Roger has said. Owen must get over the Derby match and turn in a winning display on Sunday and then again on Tuesday at the Arsenal in the Carling Cup. England has Rooney to fill Michael’s boots while he rests and recovers from his op.

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  • Glenn

    Sep 20, 2007 at 11:06 PM

    Comment #29

    F**k England if he needs an op do it so during the qualifiers that’ll be an extra weeks extra recovery time. And if EMO doesn’t like it tough! See if any other club will be stupid enough to pay him in excess of 100k a week to keep him fit for Ingurlund.

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  • Glenn

    Sep 20, 2007 at 11:07 PM

    Comment #30

    F**k England if he needs an op do it during the qualifiers that’ll be an extra weeks extra recovery time. And if EMO doesn’t like it tough! See if any other club will be stupid enough to pay him in excess of 100k a week to keep him fit for Ingurlund.

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  • Glenn

    Sep 20, 2007 at 11:07 PM

    Comment #31

    F**k England if he needs an op do it during the qualifiers that’ll be an extra weeks extra recovery time. And if EMO doesn’t like it tough! See if any other club will be stupid enough to pay him in excess of 100k a week to keep him fit for Ingerlund.

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  • Bryan

    Sep 20, 2007 at 11:44 PM

    Comment #32

    Bugger England: Bugger Horses and racing stables: It’s Newcastle United and my money via my season tickets that pays your wages. GET BACK TO REALITY, you are employed by N.U.F.C. Get your priorities ito perspective.

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  • evil dick

    Sep 20, 2007 at 11:55 PM

    Comment #33

    I will go against the grain here, because without him England are screwed and wont be at euro 08. We do have Martins, Smith, Viduka, after all, if he’s injured why make it worse. This would give martins the chance to make a point.

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  • Lawman

    Sep 21, 2007 at 12:12 AM

    Comment #34

    I’m not against Owen having the operation but DEFINITELY NOT so that he could be rushed back for England.

    Ok, I’m scottish and although I have nothing against England (unlike many other Scots – I’d prefer British teams INCLUDING England to succeed than not), I’m a NUFC fan first and foremost!

    If Owen needs the surgery, it needs to be for the good of NUFC who at the end of the day are paying his wages!!!! All too often, Owen has played for the good of England and NUFC have had to pick up the peices the suffer the consequences. If Owen wants to repay the NUFC fans for their loyal support towards him, he should be aware of this and do the right thing.

    If he has the surgery, I wouldn’t want to see him back playing (even for the Magpies for that matter) until he is 110% fit and not rushed back to fitness.

    P.S. well said Glenn!

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  • Lawman

    Sep 21, 2007 at 12:37 AM

    Comment #35

    Benoz, no one is saying Owen shouldn’t be loyal to his country or that country doesnt come first. If a player wants to play for his country – that’s fine….. just don’t come back to the club injured looking for sympathy from fans. We’ve already been patient with him and thus far, he’s contributed more to England than NUFC’s cause.
    If a player’s 1st priority is his country (England in this case), why play for a club???? It seems to me that Owen will get automatically picked by McClaren even if he’s only half fit, nevermind whether or not he’s playing first team football for his club or not. With such automatic selection, he doesn’t even need to play for a club to provide him with the platform for International duty selection. According to your arguement Benoz, Owen should become the first full-time England international player and devote all his time to England…….. the question is, I wonder if the English FA shares the same loyalty and priority towards him as you suggested ANY player should towards their country. I’m wondering if they are willing to pay the £000’s NUFC are paying him week in week out???? I severely doubt it!!!!

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  • Pete

    Sep 21, 2007 at 1:10 AM

    Comment #36

    To respond to “Roger – Whitley Bay Mag”

    I too would rather Owen had his operation (if he even needs one) in the international break, but the fact is I don’t think it is reasonable to order him to do so (for a start is it legal to make someone have an operation?).

    I think that people have mis understood what I said so let me clarify. I want Owen to have the operation with as little disruption to NUFC as possible (even if this means sacraficing England). I do not however agree that Owen should “look who pays his wages” when he seems to make a ton more for playing for England. More valid reasons include us looking after him whilst injured, rescuing from Spain etc…

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  • AlfCastle

    Sep 21, 2007 at 7:21 AM

    Comment #37

    A lot of criticism is being sent to Owen. My question is- Did Owne want to get the injury? Has he said that England comes first and not Newcastle? I know we are all mad about the fact that his injury record is not the best but Owen should not get any of this critism. How about McLaren? If you were in his shoes, wouldnt you want Owen to be fit for England knowing that he is your best goal poacher? How about Big Sam? Wouldnt he want Owen fit when he needs him? I think the whole issue goes to the need for FA and NUFC to share Owens medical bills when they arise. The problem is not Owen playing for England. You can agree with me that every Newcastle fan was smiling and filled with pride when Owen scored the 3 goals for England. We all felt like, “Yeah, our boy is getting back to form and is going to do just the same for us”

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  • UTD111

    Sep 21, 2007 at 7:33 AM

    Comment #38

    When you say “we all want england to do well” – hmmm, lots of United fans are scottish etc – couldn’t give 2 hoots about Ingerland matey!!

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  • yemozone

    Sep 21, 2007 at 9:19 AM

    Comment #39

    England have many other strikers that can do the job against estonia.Or do u want to say Rooney,Bent,Defoe,Crouch,Smith,Heskey are not good enough???

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  • Josh

    Sep 21, 2007 at 2:22 PM

    Comment #40

    Petey, what do you mean is it legal??? the players have contracts in which every aspect of their health is scrutinized and monitored. If they club wants them to have surgery they have surgery.

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