EXCLUSIVE: ‘Everybody gets carried away thinking England have a divine right to win every tournament but it’s not true’ – Michael Owen | Football News

Former England striker Michael Owen has seen it all. He’s been a part of some of the most talented England football teams that have played at a World Cup or the European Championship. He knows that anything less than winning the title is deemed a failure.In an exclusive conversation with The Indian Express, he says that he wasn’t really surprised with the fury that was unleashed on manager Gareth Southgate and their skipper Harry Kane after England were held to a drab 1-1 draw in their second match of this year against Denmark.
Former England captains Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer blasted the team’s lethargic performance with the former even going on a foul-mouthed rant. Kane issued a response to the pair’s criticism, telling them to be more supportive while also reminding them that they were unable to win a major international tournament with the Three Lions themselves.

“Everybody gets carried away thinking England have a divine right to win every tournament but it’s not true,” Owen says. “To expect a team to win a tournament just because they’ve got great players is unreasonable. I mean there are probably eight teams that could win this tournament and England are one of them,” he added.
“In the 2002 World Cup, we lost to a world-class Brazil team and people say that was a missed opportunity (laughs). We’ve got to the semifinal of the last World Cup, We got to the final of the last Euros. We’re doing okay. We’re only a small country,” Owen, who has 40 international goals to his name, says.
England take on Slovenia in their last group match on Tuesday night and need to avoid a loss to ensure they go through to the knockouts and though Owen says he has absolutely no doubts that they will go through, he remains concerned about how England are lining up.
“It’s a little bit concerning that Southgate’s probably going to have to change his team because it’s not quite working out. I was fearful coming into the tournament that I didn’t like the shape of the team. I don’t like playing two holding midfield players. I think we’ve got so many good attacking players that we could easily dispense with one of them and get another player in the forward position. Every team in the Premier League tends to play with just one holding midfielder. I knew I was going to get frustrated watching England with this formation,” Owen said.

England have a fabulous squad with young, in-form players like Jude Bellingham who won the UEFA Champions League with Real Madrid, and Phil Foden who helped Manchester City defend their Premier League title but in the two games at the continental tournament, players have struggled to find their rhythm and create chances which they’re quite capable of doing.
England have the attacking flamboyance but link-up play is lacking which seems to be hurting their chance up front.
Owen says he’s frustrated that somebody like Cole Palmer who can play as an attacking midfielder or a winger and has had an astonishing season with Chelsea, doesn’t find a place in the England playing XI.
“Cole Palmer is sat on the bench when someone like him could have a huge influence in this tournament. I wish we would play one holding player but I don’t think Southgate will change the system; he will probably just change one or two players. It’s a little bit worrying that we’re changing during the tournament and that we don’t really know our best team,” Owen, the only player ever to have scored in four major tournaments for England, said.
When asked what England need to do differently and whether he thinks Southgate has been able to manage the squad full of talented players well, Owen said England need to start playing to their strength, which isn’t necessarily what’s happening.
“ He (Southgate) creates a good environment and all the players that I’ve spoken to think he’s great. The only thing that you can question is the team selection and the position of the players. I think you’ve got to go to a tournament and try and win it. And if you want to win a trophy you’ve got to be brave. If you’ve got good attacking players, you need to play to your strength,” he said.
Despite his criticism of Southgate’s formation, Owen says one shouldn’t read too much into England’s opening two games. At heart, he remains optimic about England’s changes.

“Part of me is actually quite pleased that we’ve not gone and won 5-0 twice becauseotherwise, everybody would be thinking ‘oh yeah we’re going to win it now’ and as soon as a problem comes up, it gets harder to solve. At least now we’ve started with low expectations mind you, we’re only going to get better,” he says.
(European Championships 2024 is being shown on Sony LIV)

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