Michael Owen 'couldn't wait to retire' towards end of career | inside World Soccer

Michael Owen 'couldn't wait to retire' towards end of career

Monday, August 27, 2018

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Former England striker Michael Owen has divulged just how much of a struggle his final years in the game were.

Owen broke onto the scene for Liverpool as a teenager and looked one of the most exciting young talents in world football.

For the first seven years of his career, the forward was a prolific goalscorer who lit up the World Cup as an 18-year-old and helped Liverpool win several trophies.

Having established himself as one of the world's top strikers with a game primarily built on searing pace, a number of muscle injuries put paid to Owen's ability to out-sprint defenders.

In fact, his fear of sprinting led to him taking up positions on the field where teammates would not play passes which required him to chase.

This prompted the former England captain to consider retirement loads of times before eventually hanging up his boots in 2013 at the age of just 33.

In a brutally open and honest interview with BT Sport, Owen spoke about the frustrations he experienced due to his ever-mounting injury concerns.

I was quick, running in channels, beating people. That's who I was - compared to the last six or so years when I turned into the only thing I could.

I was petrified of running into a channel. I just knew I was going to tear a muscle.

The worst thing about it is your instinct is to do what you have done all your life but you start thinking: "Oh no, don't."

For six or seven years I hated it. I couldn't wait to retire. It wasn't me. All I was doing is coming short, linking play and getting in the box.

It ended up with people thinking I was a great goalscorer who didn't do much else. Mentally I could do it, but physically I couldn't.

I admire people who can play for the love of the game. They may lose a yard of pace and they can go down a division or play against lesser teams - but, for me, it was turmoil.

Owen scored more than 200 goals in a 17-year club career which began at Liverpool and featured spells with Real Madrid, Newcastle United, Manchester United and Stoke City.

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