Football: Owen out for rest of the season

MICHAEL OWEN is out of football for three months with a hamstring and tendon injury. Yesterday the Liverpool and England striker discovered the results of the scan on his right leg which reveals far worse damage than was first feared.

Owen will miss England's next three matches - the friendly against Hungary in Budapest on 28 April and the European Championship qualifiers against Sweden and Bulgaria on 5 and 9 June.

Owen limped out of Monday's Premiership match at Leeds with a recurrence of the hamstring injury that has affected him twice before this season. Liverpool only discovered the full extent of his injury when they received hospital reports yesterday.

Gerard Houllier, the Anfield club's manager, said: "The scan has revealed damage to the hamstring and the tendon. It will take six weeks to recover from. Then it will take another six weeks after that to build up the strength in the leg again."

Houllier had already decided that Owen would have been given a long rest to recover from the stresses of almost three seasons of non-stop football before he knew the full extent of the injury. Now the teenage striker will miss Liverpool's final seven games of the season as well as the three England internationals.

It is a big blow for England's caretaker coach, Kevin Keegan, who could not pick Owen for the Euro 2000 win over Poland last month following a similar injury sustained at Derby in March.

Owen also missed several games last November with another similar injury, which cost him an England appearance against the Czech Republic.

Houllier was already concerned about Owen's general fitness before the scan reports. The 19-year-old, who became a national celebrity following his goal against Argentina at France 98, has played an incredible 85 of Liverpool's 91 games since he made his debut against Wimbledon in May 1997. He has also played 13 full internationals and one England Under- 21 fixture, plus a youth international in the past 18 months.

In the previous two close seasons he has figured in the Youth World Championship in Malaysia and, last summer, in the World Cup finals in France. Owen has scored 23 goals in 40 games this season, and in his Liverpool career he has collected 47 goals.

The fear at Liverpool must be that, after three hamstring injuries in six months, Owen could have a long-term problem if he is not given a lengthy break to recover. At Old Trafford, Manchester United have often had to cope without Ryan Giggs, who has had constant hamstring problems.

The Football Association's interim executive director, David Davies, said: "Obviously everyone connected with England is very disappointed to hear this news about Michael, and we all wish him a speedy recovery.

"We will look forward to him being back in contention for the crucial Euro 2000 qualifying matches in September against Luxembourg and Poland."

Last night Owen said: "Naturally I am disappointed to be injured but I have complete confidence in the medical team at Anfield and I know that they will have me back playing as soon as possible."

Meanwhile, Robbie Fowler is still planning to take on the FA with an appeal against his two-game ban for insulting Graeme Le Saux.

Fowler is still considering his next move after meetings with the Anfield club, who would prefer that he takes his punishment both for that offence and his "coke-sniffing" goal celebrations against Everton.

However, Fowler is unhappy that he was given a bigger penalty than Le Saux. The Chelsea left-back was given a one-match suspension and a fine. Fowler would like the FA to reconsider its punishment, but Liverpool fear that could mean a delay to the period when he serves his ban and possibly an increase in the sentence.

At the moment Fowler is due to be ruled out for six matches in total, with one of those at the start of next season. But the England forward could still miss a bigger chunk of next season, should the FA reconsider the case and possibly increase the suspension.

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

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'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