FOOTBALL: FAMILY TREE

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The Independent Online
When Terry Owen picks up a newspaper to find his son's picture captioned "Baby Spice" it is little wonder he is miffed, especially when the inspiration for the crude labelling of the Premiership's brightest young talent appears to be the England coach, Glenn Hoddle.

No parent could have nurtured a footballing son more carefully than Terry has looked after Michael, the 18-year-old many believe will surpass Robbie Fowler and even Ian Rush in the Liverpool hall of fame.

Dad, a professional himself with Everton (two appearances), Bradford and Chester, does not quite keep Michael under house arrest at their home in Hawarden, north Wales, but maintains strict control.

Hoddle's careless remark about Michael's off-the-pitch situation," conjouring images of nightclubs and pop star girlfriends, therefore outraged 48-year- old Terry, who now works, appropriately enough, as an Anfield talent scout.

Michael's favourite clubs are in the boot of his modest Rover car. "He's happy enough to unwind playing a game of golf," Terry said. "He has a girlfriend, but she's not a pop star."

From the moment Michael's talent began to emerge, at Deeside Leisure Centre, aged five, Terry has kept his son's path unerringly straight, right down to the choice of Tony Stephens to be his agent. Stephens' main client is Captain Sensible himself, Alan Shearer.

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