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Michael Owen

Michael Owen (born December 14, 1979, in Chester, Cheshire) is an English football player currently with Newcastle United. He has also played for Liverpool and Real Madrid. He plays as a striker and has enjoyed a hugely successful and high-profile career at both club and international level and was the European Footballer of the Year in 2001. He's regarded as one of the finest English players of all time.

Career

Early life

Michael Owen was born to Janette and Terry Owen in the Countess of Chester Hospital, Cheshire. He has two older brothers, Andrew and Terry Junior, an older sister, Karen, and a younger sister, Lesley. He is of Scottish and Welsh descent.

Michael's father, Terry, had previously played for Everton, and he can always remember kicking a football with his father and brothers. As an Everton fan, he insisted that he was Gary Lineker whenever the family had a game.

When Michael was only seven, Terry persuaded the manager of Mold Alexandra to let Michael into his team of ten-year-olds. Michael was quite a bit younger than most, and very much smaller, but he was soon showing off his "flair" and started in most games becoming known as the clubs 'secret weapon'. He also played for his primary school team in Hawarden, Wales, breaking all local scoring records in his first season.

His secondary school was Hawarden High School, where he also played for the school team.

His records and ability attracted much attention from top English teams, but as a Junior School boy, the school had the final say and it was a policy not to allow pupils to sign contracts at such a young age.

Liverpool F.C.

At age 11, Owen joined the local school, Hawarden High. He could now sign School Boy forms with a club, and had talks with Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal. He eventually signed for Liverpool, and it was the club who persuaded him to attend the FA's School of Excellence at Lilleshall in Shropshire from age 14. Throughout this time, he studied at Idsall School, Shifnal, Shropshire, and achieved ten GCSEs.

Liverpool signed Owen after he graduated from Lilleshall at 16, and joined the club on the Youth Training Scheme. With Owen's help, Liverpool's youth team won the FA Youth Cup in 1996. After four months, he signed professional forms for the senior team just after his seventeenth birthday in December 1996.

He made his debut for Liverpool against Wimbledon in May 1997, coming on as a substitute and scoring a goal. With an injury to Robbie Fowler, he was thrust immediately into action as a first team regular alongside the likes of newcomer Paul Ince and playmaker Steve McManaman in the following 1997-98 season. Owen ended that season as joint top scorer in the Premier League, scoring eighteen goals (equal with Chris Sutton and Dion Dublin), as well as being voted the PFA Young Player of the Year by his fellow professionals.

In the 1998 World Cup, Michael Owen was the star for England and he became well-known worldwide. His goal against Argentina stunned the world, and is considered among the most spectacular in World Cup history.

In the run-up to Euro 2000, Owen was suffering from hamstring problems, and he received treatment from the Bayern Munich doctor, Hans Muller-Wolfhart[1].

He continued to be a consistent goalscorer for Liverpool, and in 2001, helped the club to their most successful season for several years. The team won the League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup, with Owen scoring two goals in the last few minutes against Arsenal in the FA Cup final to turn what appeared to be a 1-0 defeat into a 2-1 victory. Surprisingly, however, he failed to score in the team's incredible 5-4 victory against Deportivo Alavés in the UEFA Cup Final, and was substituted in that game.

Personal information
Full name Michael James Owen
Date of birth December 14, 1979 (age 27)
Place of birth    Chester, England
Height 5 ft 8 in (1.72 m)
Nickname Little Micky Owen
Position Striker
Club information
Current club Newcastle United
Number 10
Youth clubs
1991–96 Liverpool
Senior clubs1
Years Club App (Gls)*
1996–2004
2004–2005
2005–present
Liverpool
Real Madrid
Newcastle United
216 (118)
035 0(13)
011 00(7)   
National team2
1997
2006
1998–present
England U21
England B
England
00100(1)
00100(0)
080 0(36)
1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only and
correct as of 12:00, 7 February 2007 (UTC).
2 National team caps and goals correct
as of 12:00, 8 February 2007 (UTC).
* Appearances (Goals)

Due to winning the FA Cup and the UEFA Cup, Liverpool participated in the Charity Shield and the European Super Cup, to start the 2001-2002 season. Liverpool had won both matches with Owen scoring the second goal of a 2-1 win over Manchester United (Charity Shield) and the third goal in the 3-2 win over European champions Bayern Munich. That made Liverpool the first English team to win five trophies in one calendar year.

A week later, Owen and his Liverpool team-mates would again best Bayern goalkeeper Oliver Kahn. Owen hit a hat-trick in England's 5-1 win over Germany in Munich, only the second time that the Germans have ever been beaten on home soil in a World Cup qualifiers.

At the end of the year, Owen became the first British player for twenty years to win the European Footballer of the Year award.

Due to Liverpool's continued failure to win the Premier League or the Champions League, and his own stated ambition to some day play abroad, Owen was often linked with moves to other clubs. Then he moved to Real Madrid, for a fee of Ł8 million on 13 August 2004, with midfielder Antonio Nunez moving in the other direction as a make-weight.

Liverpool had no choice but to accept the deal because Owen had only one year remaining on his contract before he could leave on a free transfer (having previously lost Steve McManaman in a similar manner). Although Owen stated he would not leave on a Bosman, the fact his contract offer was on the table unsigned for 14 months gave a clear signal, to most fans, of his intentions. Although a product of Liverpool's successful youth academy and his long and productive service for the club, the manner of his departure still hurts Liverpool fans who accuse him of forcing the club to sell. The irony is that in Owen's first season with Real Madrid, Liverpool won the Champions League in a thrilling finale over AC Milan of Italy.

Real Madrid C.F.

Owen had a slow start to his Madrid career and drew some criticism from fans and the Spanish press for his lack of form, often being confined to the substitutes bench during matches. However, a successful return to action with the England team in October 2004 seemed to revive his morale, and on his first match back with Madrid following this he scored his first goal for the team, the winner in a 1-0 UEFA Champions League group game victory over Dynamo Kiev. He quickly followed this up just a few days later with his first Spanish league goal for the team in a 1-0 victory over Valencia, and also hit the target in the three of the next four games to make it five goals in seven successive matches. He ended the season with a highly respectable thirteen goals in La Liga (the season's highest ratio of goals scored to number of minutes played), as Real finished runners-up in the Spanish championship. In August 2005 speculation arose that Owen would soon part company with Real Madrid in order to join one of the English Premier League's more dominant teams and also to secure his position as England's first choice striker, following Real's signing of two high-profile Brazilian forwards: Robinho and Júlio Baptista. During his time at Real Madrid, Michael Owen scored for Real in an emphatic 4-2 win over mighty rivals Barcelona FC.

Ironically, at the end of the season, Liverpool won the Champions League against AC Milan of Italy.

On August 24, 2005, Newcastle United announced that they had agreed a club record fee of Ł16 million with Madrid for Owen, although they still had to negotiate with the player's advisers. Liverpool and local rivals Everton entered the frame but were unwilling to match Real Madrid's valuation, With the World Cup looming in a year Owen decided to join Newcastle amidst rumours that he had inserted an escape clause valued at Ł12 million. This was not denied by Newcastle, but they deflected criticism that Owen was biding his time to move back to Liverpool.

Newcastle United F.C.

On August 31, 2005 Owen finally signed a four-year contract to play for Newcastle United, despite initial press speculation that he would rather have returned to Liverpool.[1] Roughly 20,000 fans were present at Newcastle's home ground of St James' Park for Owen's official unveiling as a Newcastle player.[2] He scored his first goal for the club on his second appearance, the second goal in a 3-0 away win at Blackburn Rovers on September 18 – Newcastle's first win of the season. Owen scored his first hat-trick for Newcastle in the 4-2 away win over West Ham United on December 17.[3] It was also a 'perfect hat trick', (meaning he scored with his left foot, right foot, and head).

Owen has been very unfortunate in sustaining serious injuries since joining Newcastle. On December 31, 2005, Owen broke a metatarsal bone in his foot in a match against Tottenham Hotspur. He underwent a successful surgery to place a pin in the bone, to help speed the healing process. He was expected to be out of action until late March,[4] but the healing process did not go as hoped and on March 24 he underwent a second, minor, operation. Owen then stated that he should be fit for the final few weeks of the season with Newcastle.[5] His return to action finally came against Birmingham City on April 29 when he came off the substitutes' bench in the 62nd minute. After the match Owen stated that he was "not 100% happy" with his foot.[6] He underwent a further x-ray and made himself unavailable for Newcastle's final game of the season.

A damaged anterior ligament in his right knee, sustained in the first minute of the group match against Sweden at the 2006 World Cup, is likely to keep Owen out of regular football for up to a year. Owen's injury has fanned the "club or country" dispute between clubs and the international authorities, as the Football Association's insurance policy will not fully reimburse Newcastle United for Owen's salary of over Ł100,000 a week, or the costs of employing another player to cover for him; Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd has threatened to sue the FA for compensation. The injury also saw the time frame for his release clause pass by, it now seems unlikely that Owen will leave Newcastle in the foreseeable future. Rumours have now begun to circulate on the internet, which suggest that Owen could be back by as soon as April.

Michael Owen has officially scored seven goals for Newcastle. But in an article recently written on an unofficial Newcastle United internet blog, it was highlighted that the goal scored by Emre for Newcastle United against Birmingham in 2005, may have been deflected past the goalkeeper by Michael Owen (see external links). He is currently on his way back to fitness after he sustained a major injury playing for England.

Owen began running again on Monday 12 February 2007, when pictures on the clubs official website highlighted Owen running and doing a few minor exercises.[7] Reports strongly suggest that Owen will return to the competitive playing field, sometime during the current season.[8]

International career

Owen had a highly successful record at Youth and Under-21 international level, although he was only briefly a member of the England Under-21 team before he made his début for the senior team in a 2-0 friendly loss to Chile in February 1998. Playing in this game made Owen the youngest player to represent England in the whole of the 20th century.

Owen's youthful enthusiasm, pace and talent made him a popular player across the country, and many fans were keen for him to be made a regular player for the team ahead of that year's World Cup. His first goal for England, against Morocco in another friendly game just prior to this tournament, only increased these calls. The goal also made him the youngest ever player to have scored for England, until his record was surpassed by Wayne Rooney in 2003.

Although he was selected for the World Cup squad by manager Glenn Hoddle, he was kept on the bench as a substitute in the first two games. However, his substitute appearance in the second game against Romania saw him score a goal and hit the post with another shot, almost salvaging the defeat. After that, Hoddle had little choice but to play him from the start, and in England's second round match against Argentina he scored a sensational individual goal, voted by many as the goal of the tournament and really bringing him to the attention of the world football scene.

England drew that match and went out of the tournament on penalties, but Owen had sealed his place as an automatic England choice and his popularity in the country was huge. At the end of the year he won a public vote to be elected winner of the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year title, the award's youngest-ever recipient.

He has since played for England in Euro 2000, the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004, scoring goals in all three tournaments. This makes him the only player to ever have scored in four major tournaments for England. He also became one of only a handful of England players to appear in three World Cup tournaments when he played at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, although he did not score and was injured in the final group game.

In April 2002, he was named as England's captain for a friendly match against Paraguay in place of the injured regular captain David Beckham. Owen was the youngest England skipper since Bobby Moore in 1963, and since then has regularly captained England during any absence of the regular captain.

Owen made his debut for the England national B-team in a friendly against Belarus on May 25, 2006, as part of his return to match fitness ahead of the 2006 FIFA World Cup. He captained England B in this game, playing for 61 minutes before being substituted.

As of June 20, 2006, Owen has been capped 80 times for England and scored 36 goals: he is fourth in the list of all-time top scorers for the England team, behind Bobby Charlton (49 goals), Gary Lineker (48) and Jimmy Greaves (44). He and Lineker jointly hold the record of twenty-two goals for England in competitive matches, i.e. World Cup and European Championship games and the qualifiers for those tournaments.

After playing only 51 seconds of his 80th cap in the 2006 World Cup against Sweden, Owen suffered a knee injury and was forced to leave the match; Peter Crouch came on as his replacement. This finished off what Owen regarded as a rotten tournament for him, and completely ruined his chances of being the first ever England player to score in five successive major international tournaments for his country. A scan of the injury on 21 June showed that he injured the anterior cruciate ligament of his knee, and was sent home, no longer able to play in the tournament, and expected to be out of action for about a year.

Owen underwent successful ACL reconstruction surgery, carried out by Dr. Richard Steadman, on 6 September 2006 and is expected to be out for 6 to 8 months from this date[9]

Personal life

Owen is married to Louise Bonsall (born February 14, 1980 in Chester, Cheshire). They married on 24th June 2005, and had been engaged since 14 February 2004. They have known each other since starting primary school in 1984. They became parents on 1 May 2003 when their daughter, Gemma Rose Owen, was born. Their son, James Michael Owen, was born on 6 February 2006.

The couple had initially planned to get married at their home, Lower Soughton Hall (near Northop and Soughton), but changed plans when they were informed that if a licence was granted for a marriage ceremony the venue must be made available for other weddings for three years, So opted to marry in a registry office in informal clothing and have a lavish reception the next day in the grounds of their home. They then decided that their anniversary would be celebrated on the 25th June rather than the day they officially were married!

Owen also bought an entire street for his extended family (Austen Close, Ewloe), which is in an area close to where he used to live, and also went to school nearby at Hawarden High School.

Trivia

  • Sponsored by Jaguar Cars. He once had an XK sports car, but after advice from his physio on his troublesome hamstrings, changed to an XJ saloon.
  • Ambassador for Tissot watches, a prestigious Swiss brand founded in 1853.
  • Owen is mentioned in the song "England 5 Germany 1" by The Business
  • Owen is the only player to have topped the Gay Football Supporters Network's annual Lust List twice - first in 2000, and again in 2002.[2][3] Owen is also the only player to have featured in the Top 10 every year since he was the inaugural winner in 2000.
  • Owen passed all nine of his GCSEs with C-grades.
  • He is a fan of cult TV gameshow Deal or No Deal. [4]

Career honours

Liverpool F.C.

Winner

  • 2000–01 League Cup
  • 2000–01 FA Cup
  • 2000–01 UEFA Cup
  • 2001–02 European Super Cup
  • 2001–02 Charity Shield
  • 2002–03 League Cup

Runner Up

  • 2001–02 FA Premier League (Level 1)
  • 2002–03 Charity Shield

Real Madrid

Runner Up

  • 2004–05 Spanish Primera División

Newcastle United

Winner

  • 2006 Uefa Intertoto Cup

Individual honours

  • 1998 PFA Young Player of the Year
  • 1998 Premier League Joint Topscorer, 18 Goals
  • 1999 Premier League Joint Topscorer, 18 Goals
  • 2001 European Footballer of the Year

 References

  1. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/n/newcastle_united/4196760.stm
  2. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/n/newcastle_united/4200808.stm
  3. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_prem/4516346.stm 4-2
  4. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/n/newcastle_united/4623092.stm
  5. ^ http://football.guardian.co.uk/News_Story/0,,1740559,00.html?gusrc=rss
  6. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/world_cup_2006/4874772.stm
  7. ^ NUFC.co.uk
  8. ^ SportingLife.com
  9. ^ http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/n/newcastle_united/4801049.stm
European Footballer of the Year
2001
PFA Young Player of the Year
1998
BBC Sports Personality of the Year
1998
Premier League top scorer
1997-98, 1998-99

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