It’s not a good sign when our captain and top goal-scorer this season, Michael Owen, hasn’t scored for the side since January, and the questions surrounding him are whether he is still worth his place in the side.
Michael Owen – not in good goal-scoring form
But Michael is one of many at the club, who have not been producing over the last few months, and certainly his performance on Sunday with England manager Fabio Capello watching, would have done nothing for his chances of an England recall.
It’s also nothing new to 10-goal Owen, but Michael has been back now for 5 games and has failed to score, and if he doesn’t do that soon, it will be too late, and he will have failed to produce for the club, when it mattered the most.
That’s really the point, we need goals now when we are losing games or drawing them. Now is when it counts most, and now’s when great players produce the goods, and that’s why they get the big bucks.
If we lose our next 3 games and then Michael scores 5 goals in the last two games, then the stats will look good for him, but it will not have mattered – not one iota as far as Newcastle United are concerned.
If our players fail to start winning very quickly, like against Portsmouth next Monday evening, and then continue winning at home, they will have miserably failed to get the job done this season, and they will have been paid massive sums of money for their failure.
Newcastle assistant boss Iain Dowie gave a blunt assessment of Owen to the Evening Chronicle today:
“Michael’s goal record stands up to scrutiny with anybody.” “He is used to this. People only talk about him when he doesn’t score.”
“We didn’t get a lot of opportunities in the game at Tottenham, apart from the one from Obafemi Martins in the closing stages.”
“Michael has worked his socks off in all three games we’ve played.” “His work-rate is fantastic and he has covered so much ground.”
“He’s doing all the things that are right and one thing is certain – if chances come his way, he scores.” “We know that Michael has quality in abundance.”
“In training this week and last week, he has come up with finishes that other strikers simply can’t do.”
Michael owes a lot to the Newcastle club, who have paid an absolute fortune for his services over the last four years, but the club has not had the return they had hoped for, generally because of Michael’s poor injury record on Tyneside.
Chris Hughton left Owen out of the side in the 3-1 defeat against Arsenal, which turned out to be Chris’ last game in charge, and also ensured Michael did not make the England squad, which was announced after that game.
“It’s almost a British thing now, we like to knock our great goalscorers.” “All Michael needs to know is that he’s got the faith of his team-mates and the staff here.”
“That’s the key element and he knows it and feels it.” “Alan knows the game in terms of being where Michael is now.”
“Alan was there himself. We are very happy with him.” “We know he can pop up when people are least expecting it.”
“He knows how to deal with pressure – he’s lived in ‘the goldfish bowl’ all his life.” “But he just gets on with his business.”
But Iain’s logic is too simple, we are knocking Michael because he’s not producing when it matters. And he gets picked out for special criticism only because he’s getting nearly twice the amount in wages as any other player at Newcastle, and he is also the captain, and we’ve seen very little leadership from him on the field, since he returned.
These are all facts – not just opinions – and there would be none more happy than ourselves if Michael produces the goods against Pompey – and we’d give him the fanfare he would thoroughly deserve, but criticism and praise are different sides of the same coin.