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."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor and Clara have their first real heart to heart since he regenerated in 'Deep Breath'
TV
Life and Style
Apple showed no sign of losing its talent for product launches with the new, slightly larger iPhone 6 making headlines
techSecurity breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Oliver
filmTV chef Jamie Oliver turned down role in The Hobbit
News
The official police photograph of Dustin Diamond taken after he was arrested in Wisconsin
peopleDownfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
tvReview: Top Gear team flee Patagonia as Christmas special reaches its climax in the style of Butch and Sundance
News
people
Sport
Ashley Barnes of Burnley scores their second goal
footballMan City vs Burnley match report
Arts and Entertainment
Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Man of action: Christian Bale stars in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracy Emin's 1998 piece 'My Bed' on display at Christie's
artOne expert claims she did not
News
Ernesto Che Guevara and Fidel Castro, right, met at Havana Golf Club in 1962 to mock the game
newsFidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
News
Hackers revealed Oscar-winning actress Lawrence was paid less than her male co-stars in American Hustle
people
Arts and Entertainment
Clueless? Locked-door mysteries are the ultimate manifestation of the cerebral detective story
booksAs a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Sport
Robin van Persie is blocked by Hugo Lloris
footballTottenham vs Manchester United match report
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

Recruitment Genius: MIS Officer - Further Education Sector

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Operating throughout London and...

The Jenrick Group: Maintenance Planner

£28000 - £32000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: Maintenance...

The Jenrick Group: Project Manager

£35000 per annum + Pension+Bupa: The Jenrick Group: We are recruiting for an e...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £35K - £45K: SThree: SThree Group have been we...

Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?