Things international

March 30, 2013




Ken Masters


News and views thread their way around the football and sports websites at a pace and often the leading posts, blogs, and tweets are as much about off the field stories as much as those on it. It’s all about making ninety minutes last a week but whatever is being dreamed up or reported as fact about this team, manager, player or that, to my mind the overwhelmingly issue is all about winning football matches.

So, with the League taking a pre determined or enforced break, attention on the web turned to things international. This from aol Sport: Football,

“Former England striker Michael Owen has announced he will retire from football at the end of the season.”

The 33 year old made his name with Liverpool and went on to play for Real Madrid, Newcastle and Manchester United before signing for Stoke at the start of this season, but Owen, who has been dogged by injury in the latter stages of his career, has made the decision to hang up his boots.

The striker wrote on his personal website:

“It is with an immense amount of pride that I am announcing my intention to retire from professional football at the end of this season.”

For me it is as an international player that Michael made the most impact and this came to him as a very young player; he burst onto the international scene as an 18 year old and scored his most famous goal against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup.

In the statement on his website, Owen continued:

 “Having progressed through the ranks at Liverpool to make my first team debut at 17, before embarking upon spells at Real Madrid, Newcastle United, Manchester United and Stoke City, not to mention representing my country on 89 occasions, I now feel it is the right time to bring the curtain down on my career. “I have been very fortunate in that my career has taken me on a journey that, like many young players starting out, I could only have dreamt of. “None of this would have been possible without the tremendous support I have received from managers, coaches, fellow players, backroom staff, the supporters and my own personal sponsors. “I would like to thank each and every one for the huge role they have played in helping me reach the top of my profession.”

Owen went on to thank his family, ending with a message to his father Terry, a former professional footballer with Everton and Chester. He posted:

 “We did it my old mate! From those freezing local parks to terrorising the best defenders in the world on the biggest stages of all. I couldn’t have done it without you.”

Such dignity from a great player; fair play Michael, you have my total respect for posting that about your Dad if nothing else and there is much more; top player, top man. I suspect Michael and Terry think it’s all about winning football matches.

Contrast this with the never ending Rio Ferdinand saga. Phil McNulty on BBC Sport posts:

“Rio Ferdinand: Questions remain about player’s England future.”

McNulty goes on: “Rio Ferdinand’s admission that his “‘intricate, pre planned fitness programme” precludes him from playing in England’s World Cup qualifiers in San Marino and Montenegro poses the most serious questions about his international future.”

“If Ferdinand’s physical state is so delicately balanced and so meticulously managed, so potentially fragile, that he is not up to playing two games in the space of five days then it is hard to imagine manager Roy Hodgson counting on him in Brazil in 2014 should England secure World Cup qualification.”

“So it may well be, among some muddled communication and a bit of in out hokey cokey between Hodgson and Ferdinand, that the statement issued early on Monday afternoon (before the latest round of international matches) finally signals the end of an England career.”

No beating about the bush here then Phil but I have to say, I have a mind to agree.

However, McNulty does not stop there, adding this:

“Can Hodgson really consider Ferdinand fit for purpose for the demands of an international tournament?”

Now there’s the question and how about this for another question!

From Samuel luckhurst(

‘Roy Hodgson: Out Of His Depth After Rio Ferdinand Farce?’

Like Kevin’s transformation into a teenager, becoming England coach transforms men into unrecognisable alter egos. Glenn Hoddle said disabled people were being made to pay for the sins of past lives, Steve McClaren carried an umbrella on the touchline, Fabio Capello asked if Owen Hargreaves may be able to go to the World Cup after 30 seconds of game time in a season and Sven-Goran Eriksson was duped by the Fake Sheikh. Humiliatingly, Roy Hodgson has succumbed to the ill effects quicker than his predecessors

Excuse me, what’s all this about Samuel? My question to you is, have you lost the plot mate or is it just about filling in between those ninety minute time zones? After all is said and done, it’s not about someone or something, alter egos or ill effects, it’s all about winning football matches!





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