The nation should cherish Michael Owen not allow him to be caned
24 August 2009 07:05
Even the passing of the years, and the ripping of the hamstrings, cannot diminish this regard. Rather than being "caned'' to borrow his description of recent bemusing criticism, Owen should be cherished.
It was not simply the nerveless way the 17 year-old accepted his chance after replacing Patrik Berger with Liverpool trailing Wimbledon 2-0.
It was the determined manner in which Owen retrieved the ball from Neil Sullivan's net, planted it speedily back on the centre-spot, and urged everyone to get on with the game.
No self-glorification could be detected in the debut-maker's demeanour, none of this pointing at the back of the shirt "remember the name'' nonsense beloved by current Premier League arrivistes.
Owen even waved away the congratulations of Stan Collymore, Steve McManaman and Jamie Redknapp. He wanted to use the remaining 16 minutes hunting an equaliser.
His game is rooted in selfishness, in the necessarily blinkered task of finishing the creative approach work of others, but that does not mean the forward fails to understand the team ethos.
He played out of position for Newcastle. He never embarrasses employers with any off-field antics. His Manchester United colleagues talk of his immense application.
And few players have brought more joy to a nation than the lion of St-Etienne against Argentina and Denmark in Niigata four years later.
In a World Cup year of all years, people should really remember to appreciate Michael Owen.