Owen, an industrious midfielder, was born in Calgary in Canada, his English father and Welsh mother having emigrated there from the UK in the early ‘80s. He started with Calgary Foothills and then joined Bayern Munich’s youth team at 16. He had seven years in Bayern’s first team, winning four Bundesliga titles, three German FA Cups and one Champions League (in 2001) before signing for Manchester United in 2007. He won the Premier League and Champions League with them but problems with both knees kept him out of the game for well over a year.
Owen could have represented Canada or Wales but opted to play for Howard Wilkinson’s England Under-21s, winning three caps at that level before making his senior debut in a friendly against Holland at White Hart Lane on 15 August 2001. He became the only player to feature for England without having lived in the UK.
He played in four out of five games at the 2006 World Cup, being voted England’s ‘Player of the Tournament’, and collected his 40th cap as a substitute for Gareth Barry in Fabio Capello’s first game as manager against the Swiss at Wembley in February 2008.