Michael Owen: 5 Reasons Why Former England Star's Career Stalled
Remember Michael Owen? Yes, he used to be the golden boy of British soccer until Wayne Rooney came along. At one point, Owen was the hottest property in British, if not world soccer (he was briefly a Galactico).
The British media looked at him as the second coming of Jimmy Greaves, who was destined the break Bobby Charlton's long-standing record of 49 international goals.
Unfortunately, Owen, now 32, has been released by Manchester United. He seems to spend more time on the injury table and with his horses than he does scoring goals. Here are five reasons why his career nosedived.
He Was Overplayed
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Owen burst onto the international scene with that wonder goal against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup. That was a mixed blessing, because he soon became looked at as invaluable for England and Liverpool.
During the 1990s and 2000s, Owen was one of the few world-class players that England had and so England felt they always needed to play him to have even a half-chance of winning. As a result, he was rushed back into service in the 2006 World Cup and further injured his knee—an ailment that he never truly recovered from.
He Peaked Too Early
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Most modern-day players peak when they are 30, but by the time Owen was that age, he had been playing for almost 15 years. His body was banged up and was having a hard time healing from playing in one of the most physically demanding leagues in the world.
Everybody loves prodigies, but people need to realize that the earlier they play, the earlier their chances of retiring.
Owen was playing full-time, round-the-year football when he was a teenager. It was too much too soon. This should be a cautionary tale for players such as Alex Oxlade-Chamberlin.
He Made Decisions with His Heart, Not His Head
Owen (l) and Shearer
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Hindsight is 20/20, but looking back, it's easy to see that Owen should have never joined Newcastle after he left Real Madrid. Owen allegedly joined to play alongside international strike partner, Alan Shearer, but Shearer retired about a year after Owen arrived, and Owen was injured much of the time.
So, in the end, Owen joined a club to play with a pal who left and Newcastle got a highly-paid star who spent most of the time injured. Everyone lost in that deal.
He Should Never Have Left Liverpool
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It was obvious that Owen's career took a dip when he left Liverpool to join Real Madrid's Galacticos, where he scored pretty regularly coming off the bench. However, Owen never settled in Spain and moved back to the Premiership.
His career never reached the heights of his golden years at Anfield, where he scored the winner in an FA Cup final and played on the famous treble-winning team.
Although this was caused by a combination of bad luck and poor choices, we now know that Owen was at his best in the red shirt of Liverpool.
He Was One-Dimensional
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As good as Owen was during his heyday, his game was not exactly sophisticated. He relied on speed and a predatory scoring instinct. This made him a great striker, but those are not exactly skills that will turn into a long career.
The problem with speedy players is, what happens when their pace goes? Players who also have great touch and vision can transition into midfielders like Ryan Giggs, but if you don't have that, then there is not much room for you.
Maybe that is why Owen spent most of the last few years warming the Manchester United bench.
Oh well, it was great while it lasted, and he will always be remembered for that goal. Still, one can't think he could have achieved much more in his career.