Phil Thompson feels Michael Owen’s impending move to Newcastle is positive for both player and country.
England Head Coach Sven-Goran Eriksson has spoken to Michael Owen about his move back to the Premiership and told him finalise the deal before meeting up with the England squad on Wednesday. Meanwhile England legend Phil Thompson believes Michael Owen’s impending move to Newcastle will be good for the player – and good for his country.
Former Liverpool defender Thompson, who won 42 caps for England between 1976 and 1983, admits he is disappointed that Owen won’t be returning to Anfield, where of course he made his name.
But he still believes the £17m transfer from Real Madrid to St James’ Park should be cause for celebration.
He said: "I thought he was going to come back to Liverpool, he was making all the right noises. But the biggest thing for Michael is that he wants to play football. He loves the game and he will be guaranteed to play week in, week out at Newcastle."
Owen has agreed a four-year deal at Newcastle, subject to a medical, and will be paraded in front of the Toon Army on his return from international duty with England.
The striker is suspended for Saturday’s World Cup qualifier against Wales but is expected to start against Northern Ireland a few days later before kicking off a new era on Tyneside after that.
Thompson added: "On a personal note I think it’s a good move for him. He’s not played enough in Real Madrid colours last year and that will have disappointed him.
"He went there full of hope wanting to make a name for himself. I know Michael Owen and he wants to play football, he loves it. He doesn’t want to sit on the bench, he doesn’t even like being substituted!
"I remember when I was in charge on my own at Liverpool and I substituted him and his face walking off the pitch was terrible!
"So what he wants to do most of all now is just play football and that will be good for him and good for England."