Michael Owen has spoken out and offered up his opinions on England and Euro 2016. The tournament is due to
start for England on 11th June as they are scheduled to play Russia. Following their opening match they will face Wales and then Slovakia.
Michael Owen has said that the England squad must play with confidence in Euro 2016. The former England legend Insists that fear is the biggest issue for Roy Hodgson’s men.
Speaking to a major representative of sporting media, the star implied that the press put pressure on players to do well. For example no one wants to be the man that missed the penalty. If you are that man, then you know that your name will dominate the headlines, and that you will be the one to blame for costing the team the title.
Owen is adamant that ‘what ifs’ must be brushed aside. Any one player has to ignore negative reports and play to the best of their abilities for the sake of the team. The thirty six year old added, that over the years fans have seen penalties missed and players being sent off due to poor efforts, mistakes and even aggressive behaviour. No one wants to be the guy that made the mistake.
This whole issue puts the team in a catch 22 position, the fear of being the one that is penalised in the media, could potentially turn into a selfish attitude resulting in poor performances on the pitch.
They can’t win either way. The cycle must be broken and in order for that to happen, England’s players have to go out to the pitch with confidence, they must play to the best of their abilities without worrying about what could go wrong.
Michael Owen used examples to strengthen his opinions:
“There’s a fear amongst the squad, or there certainly was in my time, whereby you just didn’t want to be that person everybody castigates, gets vilified, and you’re the one that misses a penalty and they make a pizza advert about you.”
The fear of being the one that is blamed by an entire nation is understandable. Following Euro 96, Gareth Southgate was ridiculed for missing a penalty. The England player was in a television advert, for a well know Pizza restaurant chain. The advert essentially discredited his skills on the pitch and attributed England’s loss that year to him.
In 1998 at the World Cup in France, David Beckham was sent off during England’s match against Argentina before England lost out on penalties at the last 16 stage. His behaviour was scrutinised and he was left to shoulder the blame for England’s Exit.
More recently at the 2006 World Cup in Germany, Wayne Rooney was sent off costing England one of their greatest strikers as they faced a penalty shoot-out. They lost and Rooney shouldered the blame in the press and with the fans.
Owen speaks from experience the former England player knows only too well what goes on behind the closed doors of England’s changing rooms. If anyone’s opinions ought to be listened to it’s his.
Let’s hope that this year Hodgson’s England can let go of the fear and play as a team to dominate and potentially win the competition!
Author Lisa Wood
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