Football: Hoddle reassures Evans over Owen remarks

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Glenn Hoddle telephoned the Liverpool manager, Roy Evans, yesterday to explain his remarks about his striker Michael Owen.

The England manager's comments had been interpreted as a warning to Owen not to become one of Liverpool's "Spice Boys".

Hoddle was reported to have claimed that Owen was "not the finished article" and "there are certain things he needs to stamp out of his game and out of his off-the-pitch situation as well."

Hoddle was reported to have made the comments after watching Owen score on his England U-21 debut at Norwich on Wednesday.

Owen, preparing for the home match with Coventry, left Liverpool's Melwood training ground saying only: "I have been told by everyone not to talk about this. You will have to see the boss."

Liverpool are touchy about the growth of the Spice Boys tag attached to Steve McManaman, Robbie Fowler, Jamie Redknapp and David James after last season's championship collapse.

Evans said: "Glenn rang me this morning to explain what he had said. He claimed it had been misinterpreted."

"Glenn said his comments were about five or six of the young players who have all got to keep their feet on the ground, all have to be sensible on and off the pitch and all have a chance of going to the World Cup finals.

"He said to me that he hadn't said anything bad against Michael and I just said the lads had to be sensible. But we preach that week in and week out here anyway.

"There is nothing wrong with Glenn Hoddle preaching the same things. He felt he had said something that applied to all young players, that you have to keep learning in the game and that's my view too. You keep learning until the day you die.

"There is not a problem with Michael Owen. Glenn said he hadn't said that. Michael certainly doesn't have problem off the pitch."