Michael Owen to retire at end of season
FORMER England international Michael Owen has announced he is to retire from football at the end of the season.
• Michael Owen announces he will retire at end of season
• Former managers pay tribute to former England international and Stoke striker
• Owen won 89 caps for England and played for Liverpool, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Newcastle
• Glenn Hoddle hails Owen as one of top four finishers England has ever produced
The former Liverpool, Real Madrid, Manchester United and Newcastle forward released a statement on his official website saying that “it is the right time to bring the curtain down on my career.”
Owen, who currently plays for Stoke City, also paid tribute to his former colleagues and managers in his announcement.
“It is with an immense amount of pride that I am announcing my intention to retire from Professional Football at the end of this season.
“Having progressed through the ranks at Liverpool to make my first team debut at 17, before embarking upon spells at Real Madrid, Newcastle United, Manchester United and Stoke City, not to mention representing my country on 89 occasions, I now feel it is the right time to bring the curtain down on my career.
“I have been very fortunate in that my career has taken me on a journey that like many young players starting out, I could only have dreamt of.
“None of this would have been possible without the tremendous support I have received from managers, coaches, fellow players, back room staff, the supporters and my own personal sponsors. I would like to thank each and every one for the huge role they have played in helping me reach the top of my profession.
“Most of all though, I would like to thank my family.”
Former England manager Glenn Hoddle paid tribute to Owen as he said the striker was among the top four of the nation’s greatest ever finishers.
Hoddle gave Owen his debut in 1998, included him in his World Cup squad for the 1998 finals in France, and was rewarded with a sensational goal from the teenager against Argentina.
“He is in the top four of our greatest ever finishers, along with Jimmy Greaves, Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer,” Hoddle told Sky Sports News.
“Some might say he is at the top of that list.
“He was a baby-faced assassin. His finishing was amazing for a young man. He had that coolness in the penalty box. Some players get anxious but he seemed to get calmer and calmer.
“Michael also had that wonderful intelligence to make the right movement to stay onside. He must have been a nightmare to defend against.”
Hoddle recalls Owen’s wonder goal against Argentina with fondness - “it was such a wonderful way to announce himself to the world” - but admits that injuries curtailed his achievements.
“When you have that blistering pace you do have hamstring problems. It is a shame really that he didn’t go on and eclipse a load of records.”
Sven-Goran Eriksson, who was in charge for one of Owen’s most memorable nights when he scored a hat-trick in the 5-1 away win over Germany, described him as a model professional.
“He’s always been a fantastic football player, for all the clubs he played for. He’s a danger all the time,” Eriksson said.
“First of all he’s a fantastic man and professional. You never had any problems with Michael Owen, on the pitch or off the pitch. He was always professional in his way, and you knew if you had him in your team he’s a danger and he can score the winning goal.
“With him there’s always a smile, never a problem. He’s one of those players out there who can win the game for you and he did so many times in his career.
“The only problem with Michael Owen was his injuries and it’s been going on for a long, long time. He’s been unlucky because he couldn’t work as hard as he wanted and he missed too many games.
“That’s a pity for him, a pity for England, a pity for the clubs he played for and the pity for football.”
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