Lofty ambition

The striker is currently a free agent after leaving Manchester United earlier in the summer and revealed he has had tentative interest from a whole host of club across Europe.

But the 32-year-old told Ben Shephard and Chris Kamara that his preference is to stay in England and prove to everyboy that he can still score at the highest level.

In a candid interview, the frontman also spoke about his stint at Old Trafford as well as his one-season stay at Spanish giants Real Madrid, England’s memorable 5-1 defeat of Germany in 2001 and more…

Owen on his playing future…

“I am eager to start playing again and want to play in the best possible team and more often. I don’t want to go to the Championship as I know I can play in the Premier League and score goals.

“The question mark for potential suitors is injuries but I know that once I get on a good run of games, I will become immune. I have interest from all corners of the Earth – Germany, Spain, Turkey – but my ideal is the Premier League.

“I have been keeping fit so that if a call comes and I need a medical I am ready. I want to tie something up and get going as it was not great seeing the first game go by, but as with a lot of these things a lot of the time it goes to the last week of the transfer window – but I am hoping it happens before then.”

Owen on his time at Manchester United…

“When I heard of Man United’s interest the thing that excited me most was Sir Alex Ferguson; I thought I’d love to hear one of his team talks and see what he is like. I want a future in the game once I’ve retired so being around someone like him and learning from him was an unbelievable experience.

“I also got the chance to play in the Champions League, win medals, and play in a massive stadium with great fans.There are some proper people at that club – the manager, the staff, the fans – and there is an expectancy to win. I didn’t play that much but I don’t regret my decision to go there as I had a great time.

“I thought about the fact I might not be popular in Liverpool, but I’m a professional footballer and you go where is best for your career, so it was Man United and not a team that could be fighting against relegation or was in mid-table. I definitely didn’t go for money as at United I was on a fraction of what I was on at Newcastle, Real Madrid and Liverpool.”

Owen on his Real Madrid experience…

“I didn’t want to leave Liverpool but it was Real Madrid! I thought that if I didn’t go it might be something that I’d regret for the rest of my career, while I left on good terms at Liverpool and thought: ‘If I don’t like it I can always come back to the club I loved playing for’. Even my best mate Jamie Carragher could sympathise with the reasoning.

“I was going to get the chance to play with Zinedine Zidane, Raul, Luis Figo, and Roberto Carlos so I had to give it a go. My family didn’t settle – I think the Premier League caters better for their foreign players than La Liga – and Real weren’t that sad to see me go for £16million to Newcastle, having bought me for £8m. But I had a great time there and really enjoyed it, and I played more games than people gave me credit for and scored a lot of goals.”

Owen on England’s demolition of Germany in 2001…

“We just got the sense that we were clicking from minute one and even when they went 1-0 up I just felt that we were going to beat them. We came in at half-time and looked at each other as if to say: “They are disjointed here and we’re blooming brilliant!’. We were good on the night and it was amazing to beat Germany 5-1- in their own backyard.

“I was an England regular, give or take, for 10 years but when Fabio Capello came in I was in one squad and then never got a look in. He never told me why but that’s fine, everyone’s approach is different. I didn’t think I was owed anything as playing for your country is an unbelievable honour and you should be grateful every time. Just because you’ve played a lot of games that doesn’t mean you should be in the next squad.”

Owen on why he enjoyed such success early in his career…

“People ask me what I was thinking when I scored for England against Argentina [in the 1998 World Cup] or when I was beating players, but I didn’t think about anything; it was normal. That’s strange to say but I knew I was a good player and thought scoring goals was normal. I’d seen Alan Shearer do it and thought I could do the same.

“It’s only when you get older that you analyse it and think: ‘Who am I playing against’ and ‘He’s quite quick’. Before then I didn’t care who I was playing and that’s why all these youngsters do well in sport – you’ve got no fear factor and think you are the best.”

Owen on comparing football to the Olympics…

“I was one of the many people that thought the Olympics was just fantastic; I was glued to the telly every day and became an expert on sports I didn’t even know I liked.

“It was almost inevitable what came out of the Olympics and that straight away it was a negative for football. The Olympic atmosphere was a carnival atmosphere and the whole country was ecstatic to host it, whereas in football it’s different, it’s tribal.

“You are brought up being told things like: ‘You support Everton, you don’t support Liverpool and you don’t even eat red things’. Everybody that follows football is the same so to then expect the stadium atmosphere to be similar to the Olympics? You’re living in dreamland. You cannot compare the Olympics and football.”

Hit the video at the top of the screen for Owen’s take on the injuries that have affected his career and his love of horse racing.

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