Football: Little fear that Owen will go partying

England's teenage striker takes a sober view of his World Cup responsibilities. Mike Rowbottom reports

IT WAS unfortunate for Michael Owen that his scheduled press conference yesterday should have taken place on a day when the papers were full of the night-clubbing indiscretions of his England colleague Teddy Sheringham.

Or perhaps it was fortunate. Because the prodigiously talented Liverpool forward could hardly have come out better from the perceived comparison.

While the 32-year-old Sheringham chose to spend his last spare days before the World Cup finals visiting Algarve night spots, the 18-year-old went back to his family home in Chester, which he left yesterday morning, to rejoin the England party - appearing en route at an event marking his new six-year deal with Umbro.

Owen, old beyond his years off the pitch as well as on it, remained guarded in his comments about the behaviour of Sheringham and Paul Gascoigne, whose lack of discipline was a contributory factor in his being dropped from the final World Cup squad.

"I think any professional has got responsibilities and they do what they feel is right, so it's down to them," he said, without being drawn into any particular cases.

Soon after Owen came into the England reckoning Glenn Hoddle appeared to sound a warning note to him when he expressed the hope that the youngster would ensure his lifestyle was an appropriate one. It was a reference which Owen felt moved to clarify with the England coach, who told him that it was not directed personally. "Glenn said he was talking about a whole host of young lads in my age group," Owen said. "People like Rio Ferdinand and Emile Heskey. He said that no one had a problem, but that there were so many pitfalls in the game now that we had to be careful.

"Footballers are more in the limelight now, and you've got to be more professional off the pitch nowadays than you had to. So that has changed in the game. It's unfortunate that some players don't get time to themselves without being mobbed. I would prefer to be able to go out and do the things normal 18-year-olds do, but it goes with the job. And I wouldn't change my life for anything else. I'm sure there are lots of 18-year-olds who would willingly change places with me."

Owen's mode of transport to yesterday's appearance mirrored his sudden arrival on the international football scene - he arrived from the skies in a helicopter which eventually whirled him away again into the England fold.

Owen, who used to box as a schoolboy and has an eight handicap as a golfer, comes from a large sporting family. He will be watched in France by his mother, his youngest sister and his father, Terry, a former Everton forward whom he describes as the major influence in his career.

Father and son were regulars at Anfield, where Michael would concentrate on watching the Liverpool forwards whom he was eventually to join - Ian Rush and Robbie Fowler.

He acknowledged that a season which has already seen him become England's youngest-ever goalscorer has been close to bewildering. "It all happened so quickly," he said. "To achieve the things I have so far has been great. I wasn't even expecting to play many games for Liverpool at the start of the season. To think that I'm going to the World Cup and I got a chance of playing in another couple is a tremendous feeling. I would have settled for going to one when I was a youngster."

Asked if he felt England could win, he replied with conviction: "Yes, I believe so. I think every other player in the camp believes so. There is no reason why we shouldn't, so we will go out there and not settle for anything less than first place."

News
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Sport
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Sport
Greg Dyke insists he will not resign as Football Association chairman after receiving a watch worth more than £16,000 but has called for an end to the culture of gifts being given to football officials
football
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
Sport
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
i100
Sport
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
boxing
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Education

Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to have a b...

Year 3 Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: KS2 TeacherWould you like ...

Science Teacher

£100 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Preston: Are you a qualified science t...

KS2 Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Ofsted said "A good larger...

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments