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Hoddle: Owen one of the greats

Former England manager Glenn Hoddle reckons Michael Owen is in the top four of the nation's greatest finishers.

Last Updated: 19/03/13 at 18:24 Post Comment

Michael Owen: Hanging up his boots

Michael Owen: Hanging up his boots

Hoddle gave Owen his debut in 1998, included him in his World Cup squad for the 1998 finals in France, and was rewarded with a sensational goal from the teenager against Argentina.

"He is in the top four of our greatest ever finishers, along with Jimmy Greaves, Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer," Hoddle told Sky Sports News.

"Some might say he is at the top of that list.

"He was a baby-faced assassin. His finishing was amazing for a young man. He had that coolness in the penalty box. Some players get anxious but he seemed to get calmer and calmer.

"Michael also had that wonderful intelligence to make the right movement to stay onside. He must have been a nightmare to defend against."

Hoddle recalls Owen's wonder goal against Argentina with fondness - "it was such a wonderful way to announce himself to the world" - but admits that injuries curtailed his achievements.

"When you have that blistering pace you do have hamstring problems. It is a shame really that he didn't go on and eclipse a load of records."

Sven-Goran Eriksson, who was in charge for one of Owen's most memorable nights when he scored a hat-trick in the 5-1 away win over Germany, described him as a model professional.

"He's always been a fantastic football player, for all the clubs he played for. He's a danger all the time," Eriksson said.

"First of all he's a fantastic man and professional. You never had any problems with Michael Owen, on the pitch or off the pitch. He was always professional in his way, and you knew if you had him in your team he's a danger and he can score the winning goal.

"With him there's always a smile, never a problem. He's one of those players out there who can win the game for you and he did so many times in his career.

"The only problem with Michael Owen was his injuries and it's been going on for a long, long time. He's been unlucky because he couldn't work as hard as he wanted and he missed too many games.

"That's a pity for him, a pity for England, a pity for the clubs he played for and the pity for football."

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