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Owen 'offended' by retirement talk
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Owen 'offended' by retirement talk

Posted on May 15, 2009


A report in the early edition of the Daily Express on Friday morning claimed the Newcastle and England striker will become a full-time racehorse trainer and owner after quitting the game in the summer.

However, amid reports Owen has become increasingly disillusioned with life on Tyneside and his own diminishing returns after years of injury problems, his representatives insist he is determined to get back to the levels that saw him crowned European Footballer of the Year in 2001.

“Any suggestion or unfounded speculation that Michael Owen has any intention of quitting football is totally untrue and wrong,” read a statement from Wasserman Media Group.

“Michael remains as committed to his football career as he ever has been and is deeply and professionally offended that anyone should suggest otherwise.”

It continued: “Michael Owen has instructed lawyers this evening (Thursday) and will take action against any publication which he feels inaccurately or unfairly suggested he is quitting football and is damaging to his professional reputation.”

The 29-year-old joined Newcastle from Real Madrid in 2005 for a club-record fee of £17million.

However, in the very nearly four seasons since then he has made only 58 Premier League starts due to a succession of fitness problems.

Owen, who began his career with a hugely successful spell at Liverpool, has also been left in the international wilderness under England coach Fabio Capello.

In total, Owen has 40 goals from 89 England caps but has not played for the national team since the friendly defeat in France in March 2008.

Seeing the aura Sir Bobby Charlton still attracts proves any success enjoyed at club level is eclipsed by England.

Yet, as Liverpool seem certain to reach 19 years without the championship and Manchester United stand on the brink of equaling their record of 18 triumphs, Gerrard feels it is time to be a little bit greedy.

“To win the league and then go on and win the World Cup, that’s what dreams are made of,” he said.

“There’s a lot of hard work and a lot of hurdles to get over before I can achieve that.

“But it is certainly the ambition and the dream. And I think it’s possible.”

In terms of his club football, Gerrard has been outstanding this season, being named Football Writers’ Association Footballer of the Year for his consistent contribution to Liverpool’s most effective campaign since they last finished top in 1990.

With United needing only a point from their final two games to be crowned champions, Gerrard knows the odds are stacked against the Merseysiders, even if he is not prepared to throw in the towel just yet.

But it is clear Gerrard will be competing for honors with both club and country next year because England will have one foot in South Africa next month if they beat Kazakhstan and Andorra in a double-header that is not expected to end in disappointment.

“We have got the potential to do it with England,” he said.

“Our players are good enough to be successful at any level. But it is important we don’t raise expectations too high because it is not so long ago this team failed to qualify for Euro 2008.

“We have to take each game as it comes. But it is certainly in there, we just have to bring it out.

“As for Liverpool, if I can go on to be involved in another title race and maybe try and go one better and win it then it would be a fantastic feeling too.

“Then obviously I can take that confidence into the World Cup.”

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