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Owen: How Capello Caused Catastrophic damage To My Career, English Football

Owen: How Capello Caused Catastrophic damage To  My Career, English Football

Onetime wonder boy of English football, Michael Owen, has opened up on a longstanding resentment he has against Fabio Capello, accusing the Italian coach of ruining his international footballing career and generally causing damage to English football during his time as the Three Lions manager.

Owen played his last game for England against France – an international friendly, in 2008 at the age of 29 after 89 caps, scoring 40 goals.

He then announced his retirement as a footballer in 2013 after playing for five clubs in an illustrious career, including Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle, Manchester United and Stoke City.

But Owen is still being irked by the circumstance that truncated his England career, and has opened up against Capello in his new book, ‘Michael Owen: Reboot – My Life, My Time’.

Capello replaced Steve McClaren as England manager in 2008 after the Three Lions failed to qualify for Euro 2008. Owen played once once – as a substitute under the Italian.

“When Capello assembled his first squad session, the first thing we noticed was that he was very strict when it came to food and the second thing was that he couldn’t speak a word of English,” Owen takes up the story in his new book which goes on sale Thursday 5th September in hardback, ebook and audiobook.

“Everyone was just staring at each other. I was thinking, ‘How is this guy going to tell us anything?’

“Looking back now, I have no idea what made the FA appoint somebody who couldn’t speak the English language. It defies belief.

“I was on the bench for his first two squads. Having started for England for several years, this set the alarm bells ringing. As I sat there, I thought, ‘Oh no, this is not good.’

Owen and Fabio Capello

“With 10 or 15 minutes left in a game we lost 1-0, he sent me on. My abiding memory of that night was my appearance in front of the press afterwards.

“By this time, Fabio’s reluctance to start me was a bit of a hot story.

“The press were all over it – asking me if he’d explained his decision and, if so, what had he said. They could tell I wasn’t happy. That was my intention. I was making a point.

“My implication was that the reason he hadn’t given me any direction was quite clear: he couldn’t – because he didn’t speak English.

“You don’t need to be a genius to work out the headlines were pretty damning towards a manager only in the job for two games. And it’s probably no coincidence that Capello never picked me again.”

“Having come in as a new manager, Fabio felt that he had to change something. And that something turned out to be Michael Owen.

“So it might not surprise you if I told you that, when I look back on his tenure, I do so with resentment.

“Not only did he cut short a hard-earned international career with absolutely no explanation whatsoever, but he also went on to be one of the least effective England managers ever.

“He was absolutely crap.

“In my opinion, Capello caused catastrophic damage to both my career and English football in general – and got paid handsomely to do so.”

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  • Asoko Emmanuel 2 years ago


  • My vague recollection of that era was that Michael Owen’s career was on the decline at the time Capello took over as England gaffer.

    He was susceptible to injury and had lost the pace that came to define his game.

    Capello lost only 6 out of 42 games for England, I don’t think that is the stats of a ‘crap’ coach.

    Owen wasn’t Capello’s cup of tea hence the Italian overlooked him for the likes of Wayne Rooney, Peter Crouch, Emily Heskey and Jermain Defoe.

    No wonder Owen has nursed a grudge against Capello to this day!

    Owen, get over it.