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Michael Owen has revealed that Manchester United legend Sir Alex Ferguson blamed the striker’s horrible injury record on Liverpool over-playing him as a youngster, though the former England international has defended the Merseysiders.

Owen made his debut at the age of just 17 and played an astonishing 36 times in the Premier League in his first full season in the 1997-98 season, scoring 18 times, and followed that up by going to the World Cup in France the summer after.

He continued to play regularly for club and country but was hampered by ‘three months of injury nightmare’ in the 2003-04 season, before joining Real Madrid. Owen played over 100 games for Liverpool while he was still a teenager.

He only spent a year at the Bernabeu before moving back to England with Newcastle where he was beset with injury problems that plagued him for the rest of his career.

Michael Owen defends Liverpool after Man Utd boss Sir Alex Ferguson blamed them for his injuries Owen broke his metatarsal in December 2015 and rushed himself back to fitness for the World Cup the following summer, only to sustain a horror ACL injury in his right knee in the first minute of the group match against Sweden.

He only played 14 times in his first two seasons at Newcastle, though landed a move to Old Trafford in 2009 where he linked up with Sir Alex, who made it plainly clear that he felt Owen’s body broke down later in life because of the demands placed on him when he was younger.

Asked if he felt Liverpool had contributed to his injuries on BBC Radio 5’s 606 Savage Social, Owen said:

‘Yeah it’s a really interesting question and I don’t think we’ll ever know the answer to it really. ‘If you talk to Sir Alex Ferguson, he’s convinced that I overplayed and all the rest of it. Which is fine and I absolutely respect his opinion.

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‘He thinks that while I was scoring goals for Liverpool and then in the summer I’d be whisked off to play for England Under-20s and then I’d be straight back in the Liverpool first team.

‘But at the time that’s just what happened. I guess Liverpool needed me. And I suppose Liverpool needed me more than certain players were needed for Manchester United at the time, because they had such a great squad.

They could bring [Ryan] Giggs in or out, all these different players. ‘Whereas we were trying to catch them, we didn’t have the luxury of having a massive squad and being able to rotate.

‘The one thing I would say on the flip side of that is that my dad was a professional footballer, my brothers are lightning-fast, my sisters are lightning-fast.

Now my dad wasn’t overplayed as a kid, but later on in his career he had hamstring injuries, he had thigh injuries and groin injuries. ‘All I think is that I was really, really fast and I was born in a certain way and genetically that’s the way I’m built. I was quick.

And I just think that no matter how much I played, I was always susceptible to getting muscle injuries because it’s happened throughout my family’s history.

We’re all lightning-fast and that’s almost a by-product of being quick. ‘So I tend to think I would have had muscle injuries regardless, whether I played 100 or 10 games.

I do take Sir Alex Ferguson’s point, but my own opinion is that I would always have picked up muscle injuries because that’s just the way I’m built.’


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