I'm not tormented by Capello, says Owen

Manchester United striker insists that his game is not all about scoring goals

Michael Owen declared for the second time yesterday that he is the one in his relationship with Fabio Capello who enjoys a consistently good night's sleep. Il Duce might consider Owen his nocturnal "tormentor", to quote an utterance which was slightly gilded in translation last week, but you won't find Owen awake in the small hours. "I don't go to bed thinking if I will play for England again," he said. "I think about playing well for Manchester United and the rest will take care of itself."

But what constitutes playing well? While the England manager wants more playing time and more evidence that there are goals in Owen, the 29-year-old wants the world – and presumably Capello – to know that it is not all about how many times he lands a ball in the net (three times so far for United).

When asked yesterday to explain his suggestion, after his exquisite goal against Barnsley in the Carling Cup last week, that he felt his subsequent newspaper ratings were not quite on the mark, it became clear that he thought no one quite gets it when it comes to him and his talents.

"At Barnsley, someone said they thought I played well, scored a good goal, started talking about England and all the rest of it," he said. "But I thought I played much better the previous game against Bolton [at Old Trafford, three days earlier]. I didn't score and I missed a couple of chances. Because I scored it didn't mean I played well – I was pretty average at Barnsley – and at Bolton I thought I played really well.

"That's how my career's gone. If I don't score then I get criticised. If I do score and play poorly I get praised. That's strange."

Owen also believes there are still misconceptions about how prone he is to injuries – they were not helped by his departure from the field with a groin strain 20 minutes into the Old Trafford encounter with Wolfsburg at the end of September.

"The fact is I've only had a couple of serious injuries in my career, both linked. The others have tended to be niggly injuries and they are the type you can manage," he said. "I've always been a quick player so you're always prone to muscle [injuries]. All the quick players around are like that."

There is no doubt that he is beginning to feel at home, though. The United anthems to him are audible now ("Michael Owen is a red" rang out at Anfield) and his team-mates are beginning to appreciate the way he moves off the ball to carve out avenues of space.

So could Europe, with two more starts for Owen beckoning if United qualify tonight, help his England chances? "I suppose it can," he said. "The last squad I was in was a year ago now. It's something that other people talk about more than I think about.

"I've played for England 89 times and I would love to play for them again – that is the bottom line. It's not something I really think about now."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Jerry Seinfeld Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee
peopleSitcom star urges men to be more supportive of women than ever
Life and Style
Living for the moment: Julianne Moore playing Alzheimer’s sufferer Alice
Jay Z
businessJay-Z's bid for Spotify rival could be blocked
footballLouis van Gaal is watching a different Manchester United and Wenger can still spring a surprise
The spider makes its break for freedom
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot