Michael Owen has always been a battler. Whether it was being told he was too small to make it in soccer to battling back from several major injuries, Owen always seems to bounce back and do what he does best, which is scoring goals, currently for Manchester United.
However, the 30-year-old Briton was left out of the England squad again, this time for its Euro 2012 Championship qualifier against Montenegro at Wembley on Oct. 12 by Italian manger Fabio Capello.
To make matters more discouraging for the ever-optimistic Owen, Capello selected 33-year-old Kevin Davies of Bolton Wanderers for his first-ever call up for senior international duty as fellow strikers Bobby Zamora, Gabriel Agbonlahor, and Jermain Defoe are all out injured.
But Owen still hangs onto the hope that he’ll once again wear the three lions of the English shirt on his chest. He definitely has the experience and credentials -- he’s scored 40 goals in 89 games for his country, good for third on the team's all-time scoring list.
Owen recently told the British press he hasn’t given up on playing for his nation again, but doesn’t get worked up every time Capello announces his squad and finds out his name isn’t on it. He admitted he was devastated the first few times he was omitted from the team, but has learned to deal with it. However, he said dealing with it doesn’t mean he’s given up hope.
While it seems like it’s been decades since Owen last played for England, it’s actually only been a couple of years. He last played for his country in a 1-0 loss to France in March of 2008. He’s not really sure why Capello keeps looking him over and quietly goes about his business when called upon by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
Admittedly Owen doesn’t start many games for his club team, but when he does get the chance to play his goal-per-minutes-played ratio is one of the best in England, and the world for that matter. He’s only scored three goals so far this season for United, but they all came within a spell of 110 minutes.
Owen’s consistently proven he’s a world-class striker throughout his career and it’s hard to understand why Capello keeps ignoring his obvious talents. Capello has contradicted himself often when explaining his strange squad selections by stating he won’t select players who don’t play regularly for their club teams and then taking Aston Villa’s Emile Heskey along to the World Cup along with Gareth Barry and Ledley King, who were both injured.
Heskey, who scored a total of five goals in all competitions last season, then proceeded to start for England and the country had its worst World Cup ever. And now Owen finds himself taking a backseat to the likes of Davies, who‘s three years older and has no senior international experience whatsoever. You’d think Capello would take along a proven goal scorer who’s been dedicated to England throughout his career instead of a 33-year-old “rookie.”
While thousands of England fans are complaining about Owen’s omission, you can bet their opponents are happy about it.
Wager Street Sportsbook has the odds for an England win over Montenegro posted at 1/4, while a Montenegro victory is 8/1 and the odds of a draw are 9/2.