Why Michael Owen Wants and Needs to Play for England

Shaka AndersonCorrespondent IOctober 11, 2007

Icon Sports MediaMichael Owen wants to play for England.

And they need him.

But for some reason, everyone, including Newcastle United fans, seems to think Owen cares more about playing for England than for his club.

I'll deal with this issue shortly, but first let me explain why he should play for the National Team.

1. His goal-scoring record.

He has 85 caps and has scored 40 goals. That's almost one goal for every two games, which is phenomenal by any striker's standards in a top-level footballing country.

2. Whenever he's played, England has won more games than they've lost.

I know he's only one player—but with Owen on their side, England have a good chance to win.

3. Experience.

Owen has almost 100 caps for his country, even though he's only 27.

Sure, he's injury prone, but the fact remains that a half-fit Owen scores more goals than most of the current crop of England strikers.

How many games have Jermain Defoe, Andy Johnson, and Wayne Rooney played in, and how many goals have they scored? You'll be lucky if they have 15 goals between them in four years.

4. The only way Owen can get more fit is by playing more games.

If he plays against Estonia on Saturday, his condition will be improved when England play Russia on Wednesday—a crucial game.

Now, let me explain why it's foolish to say Owen cares more about England than Newcastle:

Any player knows that unless he's playing regularly for his club, he's not going to get picked for England. This is the reason Owen joined Newcastle in the first place: Had he re-signed with Liverpool, he would probably be warming the bench.

Owen cares about playing for England, and rightly so, as playing for your country is the top honor any player can experience.

But he's keen to play for Newcastle as well.

He already stated that he would've being willing to play 90 minutes on Sunday against Eveton, but the manager didn't want him to.

Is that his fault?

Of course not.

Owen has declared himself fit, and if you're fit, you should play. He should be praised for his attitude, as he's not trying to hide behind his recent injury.

Or would people rather see players like David Bentley, who turns up when he feels like it...and if he's not too tired to play?

Owen puts his body on the line for England, but he wouldn't have the chance if he weren't putting his body on the line for Newcastle.

England needs more players like Owen, Gerrard, Terry, Lampard, etc—men who are willing to leave everything on the pitch.

Come on England!