Michael Owen was Liverpool's all-time striker

Goal.com's Top 50: The Best English Players - Michael Owen (28)

Goal.com has compiled a list of the best English players of all time. Michael Owen is in 28th place - a career that began like a fairy tale, ended with disappointments and setbacks and may now be rewritten in Manchester ...

From Sebastian HEIER

50th place: John Terry
49th place: Tony Currie
48th place: Terry Butcher
47th place: Gerry Hitchens
46th place: Paul Ince
45th place: George Camsell
44th place: Wayne Rooney
43rd place: Jackie Milburn
42nd place: Roger Hunt
41st place: Rio Ferdinand
40th place: Wilf Mannion
39th place: Frank Lampard
38th place: John Barnes
Rank 37: Nat Lofthouse
36th place: Eddie Hapgood
35th place: Chris Waddle
34th place: David Platt
33rd place: Phil Neal
32nd place: Johnny Haynes
31st place: Peter Beardsley
30th place: Ray Clemence
29th place: Ted Drake

Newcomers to English football will find it very difficult to believe that Michael Owen was once Europe's Footballer of the Year, especially when you see him with his performances at Newcastle United last season. In the Three Lions team, Owen has long since run out of space and until recently he had to fight for a place in the Newcastle starting XI in Alan Shearer's team - Michael Owen's best years are behind him. But this fact does not change the fact that he was once one of the most dangerous attackers on the island.

Great deals and Liverpool FC

The son of Terry Owen, who was an active footballer himself and played for Everton FC, among others, grew up in Hawarden, Wales. His impressive form and his footballing skills made the big European clubs sit up and take notice when he was still at school. Arsenal London, Chelsea FC and Manchester United were interested in Owen, but the then 14-year-old decided to join the youth team at Liverpool FC.

The rise began at the age of 17

After winning the FA Youth Cup in 1996, Owen got a professional contract with Liverpool that same year. At the age of 17 he made his debut later in the season for the "Reds" and scored in his first game against Wimbledon. But even this fact could not lead the public to what would happen to Michael Owen in the next twelve months.

After injuring Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler, the teenager gained the full confidence of coach Roy Evans. The coach of the "Reds" put Owen into the starting line-up of his team in the 1997/98 season. At the age of just 18, Owen ended the season with so many goals that he became the top scorer and thus the top scorer in the Premier League. The young attacker scored a total of 23 goals in all competitions and was also named Young Player of the Year.

World Cup 1998 and the goal of the tournament

Owen stunned the defensive ranks of the English Premier League clubs with his speed, dynamism and drive for goal. England coach Glenn Hoddle was so impressed by Michael Owen's performance that he even nominated him for the 1998 World Cup finals. As a replacement for Alan Shearer, Teddy Sheringham and Les Ferdinand, Owen was able to present himself to the whole world in France. Owen scored after his substitution in the 2-1 defeat in the group stage against Romania. In the first game he came on in the 85th minute against Tunisia and in the last group game he was even allowed to run the full distance in the 2-0 win over Colombia. In the round of 16 the tournament was perfect for the Three Lions after a 5-6 defeat on penalties against Argentina, but Michael Owen used his new nomination for the starting line-up to draw attention to himself. The young attacker scored a 2-1 lead for England in the 16th minute with the goal of the tournament. Owen started a solo over half the pitch and finally put the ball in the goal - a new hero of the Three Lions was born.

The year 2001, an Owen year

In many ways that was the beginning of the end at Liverpool FC, because it quickly became clear that Michael Owen would only play for the "Reds" for a foreseeable future. His critics commented on it even then and accused the young attacker of using Liverpool FC only as a springboard for a top European club. But first, in 2001, Owen reached the peak of his career on Anfield. In addition to winning the league cup, not only the FA Cup could be won, but also the UEFA Cup. In the FA Cup final, Owen even became the man of the evening, because within the last seven minutes he turned a 0-1 deficit against Arsenal London into a 2-1 win with two goals. In the final of the European Supercup, the “Reds” also beat the Champions League winner FC Bayern Munich 3-2. 2001 became THE year for Michael Owen, because in addition to the five titles in one calendar year with Liverpool, Owen was also voted Europe's Footballer of the Year - as the first player in the history of the "Reds".

Change in the "Reds", Owen becomes "royal"

But only three years after this successful year, Owen left Liverpool FC. The "Reds" had a disastrous season in which Gerard Houllier had to pack his bags and Rafa Benitez was signed as the new coach. A few years earlier, Steve McManaman moved to Real Madrid on a free transfer, now Michael Owen should be sold for a high transfer fee a year before his contract expires. Around twelve million euros made Owen "royal" and in the Spanish capital he had a hard time asserting himself against competitors like Ronaldo and Raul. He finished the 2004-05 season with a total of 16 goals in all competitions and the best goals per minute in the Primera Division.

12 months later: return and setbacks

Michael Owen's international career was slowly declining. After his brief stint in Spain, the then 25-year-old had 32 goals for the Three Lions and was the fourth best shooter in his nation. After that, he only increased the number of hits to 40, although it remains to be seen whether Owen will get another chance in the national team. He left the reserve role in Madrid and returned to Newcastle United in England for just under 25 million euros after just one year. But after his move in the summer of 2005, Owen began to suffer. The first two seasons were marked by injuries and the 2006 World Cup, where Owen was in the squad, ended very bitterly: In the 2-2 draw in the last group game against Sweden, he had to be replaced after two minutes due to injury. Without any action from the opponent, the attacker bent over and tore a cruciate ligament in his right knee. In the 2006-07 season, the 1.73 tall attacker only played three games for Newcastle United. During his time at Newcastle, he scored 26 goals in 71 top division games. Michael Owen is at the crossroads of his career at the age of 29, most recently relegation with Newcastle from the Premier League. But Owen has new goals and a new challenge in mind: He wants to attack again in the 2009/10 season, he has received a new two-year contract with Manchester United - the signs are pointing to a new beginning.

Michael James OWEN

Born: 14/12/1979, Chester, Cheshire
Operations in the national team: 89/40 goals
Societies: Liverpool FC, Real Madrid, Newcastle United, Manchester United


FA Cup Winner (2001)
League Cup (2001, 2003)
FA Community Shield (2001)
UEFA Cup winner (2001)
European Supercup (2001)

FA Youth Cup (1996)
PFA Young Player of the Year: 1998
Premier League top scorer: 1998, 1999
UK Sportsman of the Year: 1998
European Footballer of the Year: 2001

ALREADY KNEW …, that Michael Owen's brother, Richie Partridge, was under contract with Liverpool FC between 2000 and 2005?