Michael Owen, who scored 262 goals in 571 career appearances for Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle United, Manchester United, Stoke City and England, says that injuries left him “petrified”, making him hate football toward the end of his career.
“Once I did it once I was gone really,” Owen said, according to BT Sport. “I was quick, running in channels, beating people. That’s who I was — compared to the last six or so years when I turned into the only thing I could.
“I was petrified of running into a channel. I just knew I was going to tear a muscle. The worst thing about it is your instinct is to do what you have done all your life but you start thinking: ‘Oh no, don’t.'”
“For six or seven years I hated it,” Owen admitted, blaming injuries for the toll they took on his career. “I couldn’t wait to retire.
“It wasn’t me. All I was doing is coming short, linking play and getting in the box. It ended up with people thinking I was a great goal scorer who didn’t do much else. Mentally I could do it, but physically I couldn’t.
“I admire people who can play for the love of the game. They may lose a yard of pace and they can go down a division or play against lesser teams — but, for me, it was turmoil.”