Hodgson opens door for Owen return
England coach Roy Hodgson has seemingly opened the door for Michael Owen to earn a sensational recall to the international scene.
“I can only wish Michael Owen well,” he said.
“I like Michael Owen. Like all football lovers, I admire what he has done in the past. He has had a wonderful career.
“It is disappointing that he has not played as many games as he would like
over the past few years. Now hopefully he is going to get the chance and as I have said I can only wish him well.”
However, after Hodgson dismissed the claims of Peter Crouch, Owen’s new team-mate at the Britannia Stadium, earlier this week, it does seem the former Liverpool forward has some convincing to do.
“Before we start muddying the waters entirely by going back and talking about players who have been outstanding for England in the past, let’s first of all make sure those players are playing extremely well, better than the ones I am selecting,” said Hodgson.
“There is no doubt that any player, whether it is Michael Owen or anyone else for that matter, who is on fire, scoring goals, and playing extremely well in the Premier League every week is going to come to my attention.
“But there is no reason for me to discuss him (Owen) or Crouch, as people have tried to do, or anybody else.
“In my time so far, I have had a largish squad of players. I have been working with them and they are trying very hard to play the type of football we want.”
SOURCE: Sky Sports
Although the source suggests that Roy Hodgson has emphatically opened the door for Michael Owen to return to Stoke, it’s worth noting that all he has actually said is that any Englishman playing well in the Premier League will be in his thoughts.
And rightly so. With the coming and going of England’s “Golden Generation” (we use that term without the slightest hint of irony…honest), there seem to be fewer guaranteed places in the England squad under Hodgson than during the days of his predecessors.
Uncle Roy has already handed call-ups to Jake Livermore, Adam Lallana, Raheem Sterling and John Ruddy, giving hope to all uncapped young (and not so young) Englishmen playing regularly in the top-flight.
And for Owen, playing regularly is the key. Talk of England is frankly ridiculous while the 32-year-old is on the Stoke bench but he’ll have his work cut-out to force his way past Crouch, Jon Walters, Michael Kightly and co.
Even then, it’s hard to see a way back for the former Liverpool striker. Jermain Defoe is proving himself for both club and country and is benefitting massively from two managers that are starting to see him as more than just an impact sub, while Danny Welbeck has taken to international football seamlessly and was excellent at Euro 2012.
Darren Bent is still rusty after a long injury layoff but he has always scored goals in the Premier League and Hodgson is unlikely to be a snobby about picking the striker as Fabio Capello was. Then there’s Andy Carroll and Daniel Sturridge, not to mention nailed-on starter Wayne Rooney.
The competition is such that it feels as if Owen’s ship has sailed with England. Although he’s been desperately unlucky with injuries, it’s also hard not to point the finger of blame at the striker, who spent far too long contently sitting on the bench for Man United.
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