Newcastle striker Michael Owen gave an interview yesterday at Englandâ€™s training camp at Watford, and defended his position of wanting to play for England and that he was fully fit.
After training hard last week he got himself fit for the Newcastle game and proved his fitness with an excellent headed goal (or was it his shoulder?) and is keen to play in the two upcoming England games.
Yet since returning to play for Newcastle on Sunday he has been bombarded with negative criticism.
Michael Owen – press hounding Michael over his fitness – lay off him
Michael though if anything he should have recieved some praise for getting back so quickly from his hernia operation, but that has not been the case. Michael said yesterday:
“By Thursday the injury was obviously fine, I could continue playing just like the surgeon said I would be able to â€“ I was available.â€ “The manager could have started me [against Everton], but he put me on the bench, I came on, played quarter of an hour. I’m fit.”
“I thought people would say ‘How has he got back in eight days? That’s fantastic.’ That they’d be talking about how I’d gone through the pain barrier to get back so quickly.”
“But people have turned it into a negative, saying ‘You’ve only done it for England’. You can’t win.”
Michael is obviously upset at some of the stories circulating in the press as he very rarely gets involved with any controversy. But yesterday he was emotional in defending his position. Owen continued:
“My room-mate Jamie Carragher, whose family are all Liverpool or Everton fans, in the thick of things in the city, said then [when Owen was at Liverpool]:”
“It is because you made your name with England, people associate you with England, until you win something with Liverpool, they will think you are England’s player as opposed to Liverpool’s.”
“‘ That label has probably stuck with me through my career and that’s unfortunate. Until we won the treble [in 2001] at Liverpool â€“ then I definitely felt a warmth from the fans.â€“If anything I’ve always pushed â€“ even when I have been hurt â€“ to play for my club, my country.”
“Your career is so short and I’m hungry to play in any game and score any goal. So to get tagged as someone who’s ‘just trying to do this’ or ‘just trying to do that’ is wrong.â€
“If I play crap and you tell me, then that’s fine. Or if I have an injury and the specialist says it will take this amount of time to come back, I accept that. But once you are back and can tolerate the pain you just keep going.â€
“Then you get people saying the opposite to what she’s [surgeon Dr Ulrike Muschaweck telling you. And that’s hard to take because now there are cameras up at Newcastle asking the fans ‘Should he be playing?’ And it causes a stir that should never ever happen.”
As we said yesterday Michael has a point and we believe far too much is being made of this. The press yesterday were trying to make out there was a rift between Big Sam and Michael, but since then both parties have come out and denied it. For a man manager as good as Sam, you would hardly believe he didn’t get on very well with one of his best players – certainly his most famous.
This is what happens when you are a super star playing for England – you get intense media scrutiny. Alan Shearer, when England captain, was always pummeled – whatever he did or said. And even going back to the 1980s England manager Bobby Robson used to spar with the press on a very regular basisÂ 😀
Maybe that’s just the way it is.