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Michael Owen for England?

Thursday 27th October 2011
Ok so we all know that Wayne Rooney is banned for the group stages of the European Championships next summer. As a result much debate has raged as to whether he should go or not, and if not, who should go instead. For me this debate is irrelevant, Rooney simply HAS to go. To not take him is basically saying, we don't expect to get out of the group stages, for a country like England that is unthinkable, and who wouldn't want Rooney, fully fit, fresh and with a point to prove when England get to the knockout stages?

So, we have to ask then, who else do England take, to play alongside him in the knockout stages, and to be his stand-in (or the man that takes his place if he does well) in the group stages. It seems that, with his recent record, Darren Bent is in pole position to be the main striker, and who can argue with form? Clearly Capello still likes the look of Andy Carroll, but his career seems to have stalled at Liverpool just now, and since he has yet to really prove himself, we have to question if he will go. Then we have the man who led the line when England were humiliated by Germany in South Africa, Jermain Defoe. He has dropped behind Emmanuel Adebayor for the role of Tottenham's lead striker, and Rafa Van Der Vaart for the role as second striker, but Defoe is a proven finisher, and it's highly likely Capello will go with him.

Then we have the claims of the new young pretenders, the two Daniels, Welbeck and Sturridge. Both have started the season well and seem to have benefited immensely from their loan spells last season, marking them out as potential candidates, especially if Don Fabio is inclined to opt for a more youthful looking squad much like the Germans that made fools of us around 18 months ago, and both can only benefit from the extra exposure to both the Premier League and Champions League that they will get this season.

But let's not forget that the German side was not all about youth. Up front for them were two experienced strikers, Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski, players with a proven track record at international level. But what's that I hear you say, England don't have anyone like that. Well I'm afraid you're wrong. There is a player, yet to be picked by Capello, whose international record reads 40 goals in 89 caps, just over 1 every other game, a fantastic rate for International football, his name? Michael Owen.

The Manchester United striker showed yet again in the Carling Cup that, although he may have lost much of the searing pace that made him so dangerous when he first broke onto the scene back in 1998, he still has everything else, the movement on and off the ball, in and around the box, and the lethal eye for a goal. He has scored 20 goals in 50 games since he joined United, once again showing a record of just over one in two, made even more impressive when you consider how many of those games he's actually started.

As Joni Mitchell and Counting Crows sang, “Don't it always seem to go, that you don't know what you've got till it's gone.” Well England had Owen and they had no problem scoring goals, then they lost him, and much has been made of their struggle to score, maybe its time they found him again?

Only today (26th October) on Twitter, Stan Collymore argued as much and posed the question, if it was the last minute of the European Championship Quarter Final, there was a one-on-one chance that could take England through to the semis, which, of all the strikers named (bar Rooney) would you want it to fall to? For me, and Stan, the answer is Owen. For all the criticism and abuse he receives over his lack of games at United, the mere fact that Sir Alex Ferguson chose to re-sign him only illustrates further just how valuable Owen is, even if it is just as an impact substitute. So, I would argue that, even it means taking five strikers to Poland and Ukraine, Michael Owen is a player worth having on the plane, but what about you?
Jonathan Kahn

I love the Premier League and I am a season ticket holder at Manchester United. However, I do follow my local club Bury FC as much as possible. I'm a lover of all things related to football, especially like the odd game of FIFA and more than the odd game of Football Manager. If you don't find me talking about actual football you will usually find me talking about Fantasy Football. I'm a self-confessed addict. 

I'm definitely a football addict.


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