- Category : Football Player
- Type : GE
- Profile : 6/2 - Role Model / Hermit
- Definition : Single
- Incarnation Cross : LAX Confrontation 2
Michael James Owen (born 14 December 1979, in Chester, Cheshire) is an English football player currently with Newcastle United.
He previously played for Liverpool (1996–2004) and Real Madrid (2004–05). He plays as a striker and has enjoyed a hugely successful and high-profile career at both club and international level and was the European Footballer of the Year in 2001.
Owen is currently England's fourth highest scorer of all time, with 40 goals in 85 games for his country, and is England's leading competitive goalscorer with 26 goals.
Pace and clinical finishing were Owen's greatest assets early in his career, though some say he has since lost pace due to injuries. Owen returned from a year and a half of recurrent injuries, sustained since December 2005, towards the end of the 2006–07 season.
When Owen was only seven his father persuaded the manager of Mold Alexandra to let Michael into his team of 10-year-olds. Michael was younger than most, and very much smaller, but he was soon showing off his "flair" and started in most games becoming known as the club's "secret weapon". He also played for his primary school team in Hawarden, Wales, breaking all local scoring records in his first season. He then attended Hawarden High School, where he played for the school team.
At age 13, when Owen started attending Hawarden High School, he became available to sign "School Boy" forms with a club. He held talks with Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal, before he eventually signed for Liverpool, the club that persuaded him to attend the FA's School of Excellence at Lilleshall in Shropshire at age 14. Throughout this time, he studied at Idsall School, Shifnal, Shropshire, and achieved ten GCSEs.
Liverpool signed Owen after he graduated from Lilleshall at 16, and joined the club on the Youth Training Scheme. With Owen's help, Liverpool's youth team won the FA Youth Cup in 1996. After four months, he signed professional forms for the senior team just after his seventeenth birthday in December 1996.
He made his debut for Liverpool against Wimbledon in May 1997, coming on as a substitute and scoring a goal. With an injury to Robbie Fowler, he was thrust immediately into action as a first team regular alongside the likes of newcomer Paul Ince and playmaker Steve McManaman in the following 1997–98 season. Owen ended that season as a joint top scorer in the Premier League with Blackburn's Chris Sutton and Coventry's Dion Dublin, scoring eighteen goals, and was voted the PFA Young Player of the Year by fellow professionals.
The 1998–99 season proved to be another good season for Owen as he scored 23 Goals in 40 games for Liverpool. Despite his brilliant form, Liverpool were unable to mount anything like a title challenge and their seventh place finish was not enough to attain even a UEFA Cup place.
The next season was a frustrating one for Owen as he was out injured for lengthy periods but nevertheless managed to score 12 goals and helped Liverpool to qualify for the UEFA Cup.
In the run-up to Euro 2000, Owen was suffering from hamstring problems and received treatment from the Bayern Munich doctor, Hans-Wilhelm Müller-Wohlfarth.
In 2001, he helped the club to their most successful season in several years. The team won the League Cup, FA Cup and UEFA Cup, with Owen scoring two goals in the last few minutes against Arsenal in the FA Cup final to turn what had appeared to be a 1–0 defeat into a 2–1 victory, the game has since been christened "The Michael Owen Cup Final".
Winning the FA Cup and the UEFA Cup allowed Liverpool to play in the Charity Shield and the European Super Cup at the beginning of the 2001–2002 season. Liverpool won both matches with Owen scoring the second goal of the 2–1 win over Manchester United in the Charity Shield and the third goal in the 3–2 win over European champions Bayern Munich. Liverpool thus became the first English team to win five trophies in one calendar year. Just a week later, Owen would again beat Bayern goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, as the English international hit a hat-trick in England's 5–1 win over Germany in Munich. At the end of the year, Owen became the first English player in twenty years to win the European Footballer of the Year award. He scored his 100th goal for Liverpool on December 21, 2001 against West Ham United, and his 100th Premiership goal against West Bromwich Albion during the 2002–03 season.
Following Gérard Houllier's sacking as Liverpool manager, speculation about Owen's departure from the club began. During the first few Champions League games at the start of the 2004–05 season, Owen sat on the bench to avoid being cup-tied for the Champions League, a factor that would mean that none of the top clubs in Europe would want to sign him. Real Madrid signed him for a fee of £8 million on 13 August 2004, with midfielder Antonio Nunez moving in the other direction as a make-weight.
Real Madrid F.C.
Owen had a slow start to his Madrid career. He was often confined to the bench and drew criticism from fans and the Spanish press for his lack of form. A successful return to action with the England squad in October 2004 seemed to revive his morale, however, and in the first following match, he scored his first goal for the club, the winner in a 1–0 UEFA Champions League victory over Dynamo Kiev. A few days later, he scored with the first Spanish league goal in a 1–0 victory over Valencia. The scoring spree continued, as he found the back of the net in three of the next four matches to make it five goals in seven successive matches. He ended the season with highly respectable thirteen goals in La Liga, with the season's highest ratio of goals scored to number of minutes played. Following Real's signing of two high-profile Brazilian forwards, Robinho and Júlio Baptista in the summer of 2005, the speculation arose that Owen would return to the Premier League. During his time at Real Madrid, Michael Owen scored 16 Goals from 41 games out of which many were sub appearances.
On 24 August 2005, Newcastle United announced that they had agreed a club record fee of £16 million to obtain Owen, although they still had to negotiate with the player's advisers. Liverpool and local rivals Everton entered the fray, but were unwilling to match Madrid's asking price. As the 2006 World Cup loomed in a year, Owen wanted to get more playing time to secure his position as the first choice striker in the English squad and joined Newcastle amidst rumours that he had inserted an escape clause valued at £12 million.
Newcastle United F.C.
On August 31, 2005 Owen finally signed a four-year contract to play for Newcastle United, despite initial press speculation that he would rather have returned to Liverpool.. With the metro system being packed to the rafters with black and white shirts making their way to Central, Monument and Haymarket stations, roughly 20,000 fans were present at Newcastle's home ground of St James' Park for Owen's official unveiling as a Newcastle player. He scored his first goal for the club on his second appearance, the second goal in a 3–0 away win at Blackburn Rovers on September 18 – Newcastle's first win of the season. Owen scored his first hat-trick for Newcastle in the 4–2 away win over West Ham on December 17. It was also a "perfect hat trick", (A hat-trick scored with his left foot, right foot, and head).
Owen has been very unfortunate in sustaining serious injuries since joining Newcastle. On December 31, 2005, Owen broke a metatarsal bone in his foot in a match against Tottenham Hotspur. He underwent surgery to place a pin in the bone, to help speed the healing process. He was expected to be out of action until late March, but the healing process did not go as hoped and on March 24 he underwent a second, minor, operation. Owen then stated that he should be fit for the final few weeks of the season with Newcastle. His return to action finally came against Birmingham City on April 29 when he came off the substitutes' bench in the 62nd minute. After the match Owen stated that he was "not 100% happy" with his foot. He underwent a further x-ray and made himself unavailable for Newcastle's final game of the season.
A damaged anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee, sustained in the first minute of the group match against Sweden at the 2006 World Cup, kept Owen out of regular football for nearly a year, until April 2007. Owen's injury fanned the "club or country" dispute between clubs and the international authorities, as the Football Association's insurance policy would not fully reimburse Newcastle United for Owen's salary of over £120,000 a week, or the costs of employing another player to cover for him; Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd threatened to sue the FA for compensation.
Owen began light training on 12 February 2007, when pictures on the club's official website highlighted Owen running and carrying out minor exercises. He made his comeback from injury on 10 April 2007 in a 4–1 behind-closed-doors friendly against Gretna, scoring after 10 minutes and then setting up fellow striker Shola Ameobi before coming off an hour later. Owen then started his first game for Newcastle United in over a year, against Reading on the 30 April 2007 in a game that Newcastle United lost 1–0. He played the full 90 minutes, having a goal disallowed for offside.
Owen was stretchered off an hour into Newcastle's game with Watford on 13 May 2007, suffering concussion after colliding with team-mate Matty Pattison.
On 9 May 2007, Newcastle's chairman Freddy Shepherd reacted angrily to reports that Owen could move on to another club at the end of the 2006–07 season, due to a release clause in his contract. A report in The Times newspaper suggested Owen could be available for less than £10m and could be a target for the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal. Despite these reports, Shepherd warned Owen "to show some loyalty" and warned him that "none of the big four clubs want him." However, in a video posted on YouTube, a group of Liverpool fans asked Shepherd if they could re-sign Owen, he responded by saying that he would "carry Owen back to Liverpool" himself. Shepherd also stated his dislike of Owen's agent but praised Owen as a "good lad". This led many to believe that Owen would exercise his right to leave if the £9m valuation was matched. On 10 June 2007, Owen's new manager at Newcastle, Sam Allardyce, confirmed the existence of the release clause in Owen's contract and admitted he feared that the club would be powerless to prevent Owen from leaving. However on 12 July 2007 Owen committed his immediate future to Newcastle United, stating: "I believe that these can be good times to be at Newcastle, which is why I am more than happy to be here."
On 17 July 2007, he scored his eighth goal for Newcastle in a pre-season friendly against Hartlepool. Several days later, Owen picked up a thigh injury in training. Newcastle manager Sam Allardyce admitted that Owen was likely to miss the start of the forthcoming Premier League season due to the injury which "Doesn't look as encouraging as we first thought." Owen made his comeback from injury in a club friendly on 13 August 2007 and declared himself available for Newcastle's next match, against Aston Villa F.C., as well as England's forthcoming international matches. On August 29, 2007, Owen scored his first competitive goal for Newcastle since December 2005 when he scored in the Carling Cup against Barnsley. Three days later he scored in the league, with a late winner against Wigan.
In late September 2007, after an encouraging start to the season playing for both Newcastle United and for England, it was reported that he would urgently require an operation for a double hernia and would likely be out of action for at least a month.. In his first match back from the hernia operation, he scored a late goal coming off the substitutes bench to clinch victory for Newcastle over Everton F.C.
Owen had a highly successful record at Youth and Under-21 international level, although he was only briefly a member of the England Under-21 team (netting on his only appearance in a win over Greece Under-21 at Carrow Road) before he made his début for the senior team in a 2–0 friendly loss to Chile on February 11, 1998. Playing in this game made Owen the youngest player to represent England in the whole of the 20th century.
Owen's youthful enthusiasm, pace and talent made him a popular player across the country, and many fans were keen for him to be made a regular player for the team ahead of that year's World Cup. His first goal for England, against Morocco in another friendly game prior to the tournament further enhanced his reputation. The goal also made him the youngest ever player to have scored for England, until his record was surpassed by Wayne Rooney in 2003.
Although he was selected for the World Cup squad by manager Glenn Hoddle, he was left on the bench as a substitute in the first two games. However, his substitute appearance in the second game, a 2–1 defeat to Romania, saw him score a goal and hit the post with another shot, almost salvaging a point from the game. After that, Hoddle had little choice but to play him from the start, and in England's second round match against Argentina he scored a sensational individual goal, voted by many as the goal of the tournament and bringing him to the attention of the world football scene.
England drew that match and went out of the tournament on penalties, but Owen had sealed his place as an automatic England choice and his popularity in the country had increased tenfold. At the end of the year, he won a public vote to be elected winner of the prestigious BBC Sports Personality of the Year title, the award's youngest-ever recipient.
He has since played for England in Euro 2000, the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004, scoring goals in all three tournaments. This makes him the only player to ever have scored in four major tournaments for England. He also became one of only a handful of England players to appear in three World Cup tournaments when he played at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, although he did not score and was injured in the final group game.
In April 2002, he was named as England's captain for a friendly match against Paraguay in place of the injured regular captain David Beckham. Owen was the youngest England skipper since Bobby Moore in 1963, and since then has regularly captained England during any absence of the regular captain.
Owen made his debut for the England national B-team in a friendly against Belarus on 25 May 2006, as part of his return to match fitness ahead of the 2006 FIFA World Cup. He captained England B in this game, playing for 61 minutes before being substituted.
Owen started England's first two games of the 2006 World Cup, against Paraguay and Trinidad and Tobago, but did not manage to score. After playing only 51 seconds of his third appearance of the tournament, and 80th cap, in the 2006 World Cup against Sweden, Owen badly twisted his left knee and was forced to leave the match on a stretcher. A scan of the injury on 21 June confirmed that Owen had torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee, and was sent home, no longer able to play in the tournament.
Owen underwent successful reconstruction surgery, carried out by Dr. Richard Steadman, on 6 September 2006. The injury sidelined him until April 2007, meaning he missed England's first six matches in qualifying for Euro 2008. He returned for the England B game against Albania, and was named in the full squad for the games against Brazil and Estonia, with Owen stating "I feel sharp and, if given the chance, I feel confident when in front of goal." He played in both matches and scored against Estonia, breaking Gary Lineker's record for most goals in competitive internationals for England. Owen's latest international efforts include a brace for England in a 3–0 win over Russia on 12 September 2007..
With his two goals against Russia, he became the first player to score international goals at both the old and new Wembley Stadiums.
As of September 12, 2007, Owen has been capped 85 times for England and scored 40 goals: he is fourth in the list of all-time top scorers for the England team, behind Bobby Charlton (49 goals), Gary Lineker (48) and Jimmy Greaves (44). He has also scored a record 26 goals for England in competitive matches (World Cup and European Championship games and the qualifiers for those tournaments).
As of November 2007, Owen has never gone more than four international games in a row without scoring a goal.
Owen starred in a series of adverts that charted his life, and rise to fame. He also appeared in several adverts for the washing powder Persil, in a contract worth £1,000,000. Owen was selected as one of the two the cover athletes for Pro Evolution Soccer 2008. He has been an ambassador of the Swiss watchmaker Tissot since 1998 and has a contract with car manufacturer Jaguar.
Owen met English-born Louise Bonsall at primary school in 1984. The couple bought Lower Soughton Manor in Flintshire, North Wales where Owen keeps his cars and Louise keeps her horses. They got engaged on 14 February 2004, and married on 24 June 2005, at the Carden Park Hotel in Chester, Cheshire. The couple had initially planned to get married at their home, but changed plans when they were informed that if a licence was granted for a marriage ceremony the venue must be made available for other weddings for three years, so opted to marry in a registry office in informal clothing and have a lavish reception the next day in the grounds of their home.
They became parents on 1 May 2003 when their daughter, Gemma Rose, was born. On February 6, 2006, they welcomed a son named James Michael. Their third child, a daughter, Emily May, was born 29 October 2007.
After Owen returned to the UK to play for Newcastle United, he would travel to the nearby BAe facility to travel daily to the Northeast by helicopter to train. However, there is now a helipad installed in the grounds of the house to accommodate Owen's Eurocopter Dauphin on which he is both travelling and training to become a pilot. Owen was eventually banned from training to be a pilot by Newcastle United, due to excessive insurance premiums.
Owen also bought an entire street for his extended family (Austen Close, Ewloe), which is in an area close to where he used to live. In 2004, Owen's sister Karen was assaulted by two youths, who attempted to kidnap her. When she revealed that she was pregnant, they fled. In 2006, Owen's wife Louise and his sister Lesley appeared in the "Morgan's" episode of Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares as one of several celebrity diners at the restaurant.
Owen owns a number of cars and a helicopter and enjoys horse racing and gambling, in which his England colleague Wayne Rooney ran up a debt of £750,000 with Owen's business partner Steven Smith. Michael is the brother in-law of footballer Richie Partridge.