Football: Owen is planning prodigal return

England's teenage striker is having a lean spell by his standards but is confident of impressing in tomorrow's Euro 2000 qualifier.

IT IS a tough life being a teenage prodigy. One goal in a month, or alternatively, none in four games, or one in 11 hours' football, and you are deemed to be having a crisis.

Even Glenn Hoddle, inadvertently, jumped on to the bandwagon at Bisham Abbey yesterday when he noted "Alan Shearer's goal against Sweden set him on his goalscoring run, hopefully this match with Bulgaria will enable Michael Owen to do the same."

Owen, as level-headed as ever, though perhaps a bit more tetchy than usual, is having none of it. Like Shearer in his dry spells, he pointed to performances rather than goals, insisted he was still confident, and denied there was a problem anyway.

"I've scored five goals this season and not many players have scored more than that. But it is not just goals, there is a lot more to me than that, I've created a couple for Robbie Fowler just recently. If the team is winning it doesn't matter who scores the goals.

"I know I'm not going to score goals like I did against Argentina every week, no one can expect that. I still expect to score, though. I don't think I'm in a bad patch. I'm still confident.

"It is a compliment that people expect me to score, it's nice to have them willing you to do well. But the person who puts most pressure on me to score, and is most down if I don't, is myself."

Not, Owen hastened to add, that this was affecting his love of the game. "I still enjoy my football, when you don't do that it's time to quit and I'm a long way off that. I don't even want to be rested for any games.

"It might do me good, I don't know, but I don't feel tired. The time for that is when you're 40 and finished. It's still the best thing in the world to pull on the shirt and play with club or country."

Jamie Redknapp, Owen's Liverpool team-mate, said teams had defended deeper against them this season in an attempt to nullify Owen's pace. This, he said, created opportunities for others. "When I spoke to the Chelsea players after Sunday's game," said Redknapp, "they said they were more worried about conceding goals to someone like myself, or Patrik Berger, having a shot from 20 yards than from Michael because they were so deep."

The same may occur against Bulgaria on Saturday, especially with England being at home. "Teams are paying more attention to me, but I've got to find ways of dealing with it," said Owen.

Hoddle criticised his partnership with Shearer after the Sweden match and, said Owen, they had been working on it in training. "It was a difficult game from a personal point of view but you get difficult games. It may have been the service or it may have been me not moving enough.

"The manager's main criticism was that we were too flat at the front. It is not a case of one player doing this or that, it is a bit of both, it can be either man coming off. I think we are both capable of either passing it, playing a killer ball or running at the defence, it is a matter of reading the game.

"Alan and I have the makings of a good partnership but it will take time. People said me and Robbie [Fowler] wouldn't work, but we have a decent record together. No one would accuse me of being a similar player to Alan.

He is a big strong lad who holds the ball up well. I don't, but hopefully I'm better at some other things.

"We're not dinner partners but we speak on the phone and we occasionally meet on promotional activity for Umbro."

"They've worked on it on the practice pitch and looked at videos," said Hoddle. "They are talented players, both goalscorers, and I hope that, with a little bit of tinkering with the partnership, we can cause more problems than we did to Sweden.

"I tried to change it during the game, but sometimes when you are chasing the game, as we were, you play individually rather than collectively."

Owen has yet to score for the senior side at Wembley but was twice on the mark at junior level, against Brazil and Germany. Not that he is panicking. "I've only played one full game there so it's not a crisis," he said. "I know my time will come whether it is Saturday or not."

Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk