Biggest achievement is still to be playing at the top, says Michael Owen

 

Anfield saw the best of Michael Owen. His record of 158 goals in 297 Liverpool appearances, many in front of the Kop, comfortably eclipses that with Real Madrid, Newcastle United and Manchester United.

For them combined he scored 63 goals in 176 appearances and there has been a sense of decline about his career for years. His 89th and last England cap was in 2008; at 32 a recall seems unlikely.

Owen returns to Anfield today still seeking his first goal at the ground since leaving Merseyside. He is also yet to score for Stoke, though his on-pitch time has been brief so far.

Why Stoke? To be by his horses of course. So goes the theory and yesterday both Owen and one of his former team-mates, Steve McManaman, were at pains to dispel it. Owen wrote on his website: "People evolve. Long gone are the days when I had little else in my life other than football. I'm now happily married and have four children.

"I part-own a physiotherapy business and a racing stables among other interests, employing over 50 people in the process. Inevitably, taking on these responsibilities requires a certain amount of time and effort, but does that necessarily mean I have taken my eye off the ball when it comes to plying my trade? Absolutely not!"

"So, why did I get the urge to justify my actions? Because it feels like a slur on my character and integrity to hear people questioning my desire.

"Nature has dictated I am no longer the player I once was. It's got nothing to do with dedication, hunger or desire. Due to the nature of my injuries I have had to re-invent myself and the way I play. No longer can I sprint 100 times in a game at lightning speed, and as a result I have had to adapt. I believe my greatest achievement is to still be playing at the highest level after all the injuries I've suffered."

McManaman, who played alongside Owen for Liverpool and England, said: "This idea that Michael is more interested in horse racing these days, it is a myth. I know how desperate Michael is to play in the Premier League. He loves playing football and if he is fit and well he will score goals.

"I think it is a wonderful bit of business by Stoke. It was a no-brainer to me and I was surprised there were not more clubs interested. Michael has been training at Manchester United so he should still be sharp, he just needs to be playing matches.

"You cannot rule out England. When Wayne [Rooney] was out of the last squad there were few options. If Michael scores 20 goals this season there will be a clamour to pick him; if he gets one you won't hear anything."

* Daniel Agger has signed a contract extension with Liverpool which it is believed will tie the 27-year-old defender to the club until 2016.

Unhappy returns: Owen fires blanks

* Michael Owen has failed to score in four returns to Anfield since leaving Liverpool in 2004.

26/12/05 Liverpool 2-0 Newcastle

8/3/08 Liverpool 3-0 Newcastle

3/5/09 Liverpool 3-0 Newcastle

25/10/09 Liverpool 2-0 Man United

Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people'When I see people who look totally different, it brings me back to that time in my life'
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
News
Russell Brand has written a book of political analysis called Revolution
peopleFilm star says he is 'not interested in making money anymore'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites those Star Wars rumours
Sport
footballAccording to revelations from Sergio Aguero's new biography
News
news
News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

Life and Style
Meow! ... Again, Kim Kardashian goes for a sexy Halloween costume, wrapping her body with a latex catsuit and high heeled knee boots
fashionFrom Heidi Klum to Kim Kardashian
News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

Extras
indybest
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling is releasing a new Harry Potter story about Dolores Umbridge
booksChristmas comes early for wizard fans
Arts and Entertainment
filmsOculus Rift offers breathtakingly realistic simulation of zero gravity
Life and Style
tech

Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker