Michael Owen once again demonstrated class is permanent in his clinical performance away at Wolfsburg. Three well taken goals will have no doubt helped stake his claim for a regular place in the United line-up and will have done his confidence a world of good.
Seeing Owen in that form was like rolling the years back and made me wonder if I’d rather see Defoe or Owen come off the bench in an attempt to save England in the last 20 minutes of a WC quarter final. I understand Defoe has been clinical this season but Owen demonstrated experience has a role to play in top level football and this is surely a quality Capello will want to take with him to South Africa. Perhaps what will make or break Defoe’s chances will be how he fares against the so-called “big four” this season.
In these tight matches when all you get is one chance surely Owen is the man England fans would want to take that chance, rather than Defoe, who coincidentally missed his crucial chance at the weekend, when Tim Howard (a potential opponent in the summer) saved his injury time penalty.
I’m not saying the last three days has decided who will go to the World Cup but Owen has shown us he is not yet finished and Defoe has reminded us he is not yet world class. However, we all now hope Sir Alex rewards Michael for this performance and we will see him heavily involved over the festive period. This should be the case considering Darron Gibson’s recent involvement with the first team.
Michael’s performance tonight reminded us why we haven’t written him off and that he still has what it takes to play at this level. Scoring 3 goals away from home in any situation is difficult, but to do it in Europe with an under-strength side really made us appreciate his talents.
I’m not saying Michael should be given his place ticket to South Africa, but if Capello is looking for a player to come on and change a game, why would he be so naïve as to disregard the best player England have in the penalty box and a player who (admittedly only this season) is not unaccustomed to impacting games from the bench, as was seen earlier this season in that epic derby match against Man City.
However who’s to say that both can’t go to the World Cup? They don’t play the same style of game. However it does appear Capello doesn’t want to overload with “small” strikers.
Despite turning out a man of the match performance, Owen has given off a greater message, and that is to his manager (both at club and country) demanding that they recognise he has plenty more to offer top level football.