Paul Parker

Owen should never have left Liverpool

Paul Parker

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Michael Owen's decision to retire is a natural end to his career, but it should have come sooner.

He was virtually in retirement when he went to Manchester United four years ago. His decision to join Stoke City was never going to be a good fit.

Never in a million years was moving to Stoke going to be a good idea. One because he doesn't fit their kind of football, two because he isn't tall enough for them and three being the other reason that he is never fit enough to play consistently.

In theory, people are going to be like me in thinking that he was already in semi-retirement over the past three or four years.

Manchester United got themselves a reasonable name when they signed Owen. They thought they signed somebody who would be a goalscorer.

He scored a very important goal against Manchester City at Old Trafford, and that is what his time at United will be remembered for.

Other than that, you have to look back and say his career was all about Liverpool, the club where he won the Ballon d'Or (pictured above) for Europe's best player in 2001.

He was never going to be a Real Madrid player because he didn't have enough to his game. Madrid look for players who can do something with a second, third and fourth touch.

Michael Owen was only about touch and shoot. That's all he was, and Real Madrid never played that way. In my opinion, it was never going to work the moment he went there.

I'm sure when he looks back at his career, he might think he made a mistake in going to Real Madrid. He probably should have stayed with Liverpool.

He would have to be disappointed with the way his career went once he left Liverpool. He could have seen him put himself up there alongside Ian Rush and Robbie Fowler if he had stayed at Anfield.

But he didn't fulfil his early promise when he left Liverpool. If he had done well at Real Madrid, perhaps Liverpool would have taken him back.

But it didn't materialise for him in Madrid, and he came back to Newcastle United where it didn't work out for him. That wasn't a surprise.

The story was about not enough games, not enough goals and too many injuries. When he went to United that was the end of his Liverpool legacy.

He'll have regrets that he didn't fulfil his potential really. He'll talk about England and the amount of caps he won.

But in theory, it is all about what you achieve as a club footballer. In my opinion, he never fulfilled the potential he had at Liverpool.

The long-term injuries he had from a young age cost him. He couldn't really carry on without his pace. When that went, he was on borrowed time.

He was never going to be a player who would go short and try to reinvent his game. He was basically a player who couldn't play outside of the box.

Ryan Giggs had to alter his game several times as the years progressed, but the biggest one to do that with Manchester United was Andy Cole.

When he played for Newcastle he faced the goal, and everything was played in front of him. But when he joined United, he learned to play with his back to goal.

Owen couldn't do that. And as United player, you can't just be a goalscorer. You have to have a bit more to your game.

Ruud van Nistelrooy was similar. He was just a goalscorer, but when United wanted to change the way they played, they had to lose Van Nistelrooy because he couldn't do what Sir Alex Ferguson wanted.

Michael Owen lost the pace to run in behind defences a while ago so 90 percent of his threat was gone.


FA must go in hard on thug McManaman over horror tackle

Callum McManaman's tackle on Massadio Haidara was probably the worst tackle I have witnessed in the game. And I've seen a few bad ones being a defender. I could not believe what I was watching on Sunday evening.

Was it malicious? Did he mean it? Only he can tell us. If he is honest enough, he might just come out say what was in his head. It was a thuggish and cowardly act.

What he is guilty of is absolutely awful, and it seems a joke that he is going to get away game's authorities.

You can't even say it was over the top. It went beyond over the top. It is all well and good saying he clipped a piece of the ball, but it was the damage and the force of the challenge that is the problem.

The lad might have serious ligament damage around his knee area. That is more serious than a break sometimes because players just can't get over it.

They can't do the same things and can be drastically affected by it. It changes your running style and walking style. It then affects other muscles and tendons. In theory, it could be a huge problem for the Newcastle lad in years to come.

McManaman's tackle is the worst kind of challenge you could see. I'm really surprised that the Wigan chairman Dave Whelan came out and said what he said. Sometimes it is better not to say anything.

The Wigan manager Roberto Martinez has kept quiet, but Whelan has said too much. There is no defence for what McManaman did and all Whelan has done is put himself and his club in a bad light.

Some are saying he was immature, that it was his full Premier League debut etc. Well, I've seen a lot of debuts, but I haven't seen a challenge like that.

If that was a tackle in a match on a public park on a Sunday morning, you would see the biggest fight and brawl of your life between players. If somebody put a challenge in like that on somebody's team-mate in an amateur match, there would have been a war.

McManaman would also have had to come off the pitch a lot sooner than he did in an amateur match because somebody would have tried to hurt him.

You can't condone a tackle like that at any level of football. You can't condone the Newcastle assistant manager John Carver for approaching McManaman at half-time, but you can understand his behaviour.

Haidara had just come on as a substitute and is trying to make a name for himself in a much improved Newcastle side. 13 minutes later he has to be carried off by something that is more like GBH than a tackle.

I heard today he made a horror tackle against Manchester City under-21s. That suggests there is history/

The manager said he is wanting to apologise, but I'd be very surprised if Haidara is interested in an apology.

If he is lying there in a hospital bed with his leg up, the last thing he wants is to see that tackle again. I know I don't want to watch it again. I got a chill through my body when it went in, because I have had knee problems.

Haidara didn't expect the sole of a size eight boot coming at him with brute force on his standing leg. The referee Mark Halsey and the linesmen must also be reprimanded for their performance.

Like McManaman, he needs a lengthy period out of the game to reflect and think about where he is going wrong, but it now looks like nothing is going to happen.

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