Owen should go with you, Fab

Posted Tuesday, March 02, 2010 by The Sun

RED-HOT ... Owen shows the class of old to score in the Carling Cup final

MICHAEL OWEN is intelligent enough to know he was lucky to end up with a move to Manchester United.

In fact, considering his run of poor form and injuries, it was a downright miracle Alex Ferguson was interested in him.

Nearly 12 months ago, I was extremely critical of Michael - a player I have always rated - as it seemed to me he was more interested in his horses than playing football.

I'm not sure how many Newcastle fans were sorry to see him leave after they suffered relegation.

Since his shock move to Old Trafford, Michael's form has been hit and miss.

But he has scored nine goals in 31 appearances - with most of them being as a substitute. When you take into account that lack of starts, it's a goals ratio that is not too bad.

Against Aston Villa in the Carling Cup on Sunday, I thought Michael looked sharper than he has done for a very long time.

He seemed hungry and eager for the ball and, of course, chipped in with the equaliser. It was a shame, naturally, that he was to suffer yet another injury but I don't think it was too serious.

And Wayne Rooney's niggling problem ahead of tomorrow's game against Egypt made me think about the striker situation.

Of course Rooney, one of the world's most in-form players, is massively important for Fabio Capello and all of us who believe England have a realistic chance of winning the World Cup.

But I still think Michael, aged 30, is too good a player not to be taken to South Africa.

I know Fabio does not fancy him - that's obvious. But it's up to Michael to persuade him and he's certainly got a better chance than when he was drifting aimlessly last season.

The key for me, and obviously this is a former striker speaking, is that Michael got his chance for United at Wembley - and he took it.
That is why, providing he still has the right attitude, he could do it for England. And that is why he should go to the World Cup. The season is certainly not over for him. Obviously, he needs to return as soon as possible and begin scoring again.

Capello will only be able to ignore him for so long. Beckham changed Capello's mind when they were at Real Madrid and there is no reason why Michael cannot do the same.

I know there is a bit of competition among the strikers. Jermain Defoe is a banker while Carlton Cole, Peter Crouch and Emile Heskey are the other hopefuls.

Capello has even been watching Bobby Zamora at Fulham. Bobby has done really well and has proved he is a decent Premier League striker.

I know they are different types of players but I would put Owen ahead of someone like Zamora.

There is still an 'Oh my god, it's Michael Owen' factor when he comes off the bench, even though he is not the player of 12 years ago. It does not matter that Owen is not involved in warm-up games like this one against Egypt.

A player of his quality does not need to impress in matches like this. To score 40 times in 89 internationals is an incredible record.

We know he's good enough - but it's whether he is sharp enough to still break down a top team.

But I think Owen should be on the bench and be ready to come to our rescue. If he was included in the squad and scored just one goal to get us through to the next round this summer, then his selection would have been vindicated.

It would be an unbelievable story if Owen was to end up on the plane. You could make a film about it.

But as always, it's up to Michael to show us how much he really wants it.

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