Michael Owen made quite the splash on BT Sport over the weekend when he discussed his own playing days, and the perceptions of how his career panned out. Having attracted some ridicule for his factually inaccurate claim that by the age of 22 he had played twice as many games as Giggs, Scholes, Gerrard or Rooney, he was praised by others for his honesty in assessing the second half of his career which was plagued by injury.
⚠ MUST WATCH ⚠
A fascinating insight into @themichaelowen's injury troubles throughout his career and how he went from Ballon d'Or winner to struggling for playing time at Stoke... 🎙 #PLTonight pic.twitter.com/bEnm8qSMCO
— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) August 25, 2018
Having established himself as one of the world's top strikers with a game primarily built on searing pace, a number of muscle injuries put paid to Owen's ability to out-sprint defenders and his confidence began to deteriorate as the years went by.
I was petrified of running into a channel. I just knew I was going to tear a muscle. The worst thing about it is your instinct is to do what you have done all your life, but you start thinking "oh no, dont".....For six or seven years I hated it. I couldn't wait to retire. It wasn't me. All I was doing is coming short, linking play and getting in the box. It ended up with people thinking I was a great goalscorer who didn't do much else. Mentally I could do it, but physically I couldn't.
The period of his career which Owen was referring to included a disappointing spell at Newcastle, which ended with the former England striker's contract running out as the club was relegated from the Premier League in 2009. Many Newcastle fans have not forgiven Owen for what they perceived as his lack of commitment to their cause at a time when he made up a significant portion of their wage bill, and his latest comments will not do much to quell that anger.
The acting manager at the time of Newcastle's relegation was Alan Shearer, who was unable to save them having been drafted in to take charge of the final eight games of the season. Shearer shared his opinion of Owen's comments with a Tweet in reply to BT host Jake Humphrey.
— Alan Shearer (@alanshearer) August 26, 2018
Some of the Newcastle support's antipathy towards Owen stems from claims made by former physio Paul Ferris in his book 'The Boy on the Shed', that Owen had chosen not to play in a crucial game against Fulham towards the end of that season to avoid risking injury that might jeopardize a summer move for him once he became a free agent. Owen signed for Manchester United on a free later that summer.
Seemingly his former team mate Shearer hasn't forgotten....