Anorak News | On His Owen?

On His Owen?

by | 6th, October 2004

‘IT says something both about the depth in the England squad and about Michael Owen’s situation that many will be hoping the 24-year-old is not fit to play Wales on Saturday.

Wayne on his parade

Owen has a back injury, but it is his future at Real Madrid that dominates the back pages this morning after a poor start to his career in Spain.

The man himself insists he will fight to the death to prove himself at the Spanish giants, but at the moment he can’t get enough minutes on the pitch to do that.

And the picture on the back page of all the tabloids this morning has something of a haunted look to it.

If Owen is not fit, then the Guardian expects Jermain Defoe to take his place at Old Trafford – a 22-year-old stepping up to partner 18-year-old Wayne Rooney.

It is “an enthralling possibility”, the paper says, and Wales’s likely centre-half pairing of Danny Gabbidon and Andy Melville is less equipped than others to block their way.

But Owen is likely to get the nod if he is fit.

“You know what you’re going to get with me,” he tells the Indy. “You’ve seen it 63 times for England with 27 goals and with a constant supply of goals throughout my career.

“I’ve scored in four big tournaments and I don’t think I’ve got to prove myself in any way.”

But prove himself is just what England fans expect Owen and his team-mates to do every time they play for their country.

David Beckham may insist he is back to his best, but England fans will need some convincing.

“Criticism is part of football,” he tells the Guardian, “but I feel my performances for Real Madrid have been good and I’m hoping that, playing at Old Trafford against Wales in a massive game, I will perform well again.”

There, Beckham is likely to come up against his old team-mate Ryan Giggs, who will also meet Manchester United colleague Gary Neville down England’s right.

“It’s a great occasion for all the lads to be involved in,” said the 30-year-old Welsh winger, “but even more so for myself because it’s at Old Trafford and because I am up against so many of my team-mates.”

While Saturday’s game may provide a distraction to the wrangling over ownership at Manchester United, there is good news for Arsenal fans in the Telegraph.

Manager Arsene Wenger says he is just days away from signing an extension to his contract, which will see him stay at the club for “a few more years” after the end of this season.

Arsenal will, however, not be at Highbury for that long – instead they will play their home games at the Emirates Stadium at Ashburton Grove.

The club has given the Middle East airline, who currently sponsor Chelsea, naming rights over their new ground as part of a £100m sponsorship deal.

The decision has upset some Arsenal fans – but, if that’s all they’ve got to worry about, then they should just enjoy the good times.

As Michael Owen can attest, they don’t last…’

Posted: 6th, October 2004 | In: Back pages Comment | TrackBack | Permalink