Tag Archives: hamstrings

Joey Barton criticised by Paris Saint-Germain for ladyboy tweets aimed at Thiago Silva

PSG blast Marseille's Barton for 'ladyboy' tweets aimed at Brazilian defender Silva

By
James Cann, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

20:13 GMT, 3 April 2013

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UPDATED:

20:13 GMT, 3 April 2013

Paris Saint-Germain have criticised Joey Barton after the Marseille midfielder used social networking website Twitter to liken Thiago Silva to an 'overweight ladyboy'.

In a series of tweets published through his official account, the on-loan QPR player questioned whether Brazilian defender Silva was 'pre-op or post-op' and demanded an explanation why the 28-year-old had mentioned him in his pre-match press conference ahead of last night's Champions League quarter-final with Barcelona.

The Ligue 1 leaders tonight expressed their unhappiness with Barton's 'unacceptable remarks' and threatened to “take action” against the former England international.

Immense: Thiago Silva (right) played against Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday

Immense: Thiago Silva (right) played against Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday

A statement published on psg.fr read: 'In the last few hours, on social networks, unacceptable remarks have been made by Olympique Marseille player Joey Barton against Paris St Germain player Thiago Silva.

'These attacks are serious and go beyond mere verbal jousting. The directors of the club, the players and the coaching staff are supportive of Thiago Silva and cannot accept such statements.

'They reaffirm their unwavering commitment to the values of respect that should govern our sport.

'Thiago Silva and Paris St Germain reserve the right to take any action they deem necessary.'

PSG have taken issue with a series of tweets against the player which began to appear on Barton's account from yesterday afternoon.

Barton originally tweeted: 'Thiago Silva. That the same p**** thats been injured all season. Another over rated Brazilian. Sort your hamstrings out FatBoy…'

Blast: PSG have criticised the Marseille midfielder (right) for his tweets about their defender

Blast: PSG have criticised the Marseille midfielder (right) for his tweets about their defender

Joey Barton

Thiago Silva

Leap: Barton (left) demanded to know why Silva was discussing him in his pre-match press conference

The Liverpudlian was responding negatively to comments from Silva ahead of last night's game at the Parc des Princes, which finished 2-2 ahead of next week's second leg at the Nou Camp.

He continued tweeting during the game, adding: 'Have to take back what I said about Thiago Silva being over rated today. Been immense tonight. Still looks like a overweight ladyboy though!

'2 questions for Thiago Silva. Firstly, Why are YOU talking about ME, in your press conference before PSG v Barca Very strange.

'Secondly, Are you Pre-Op or Post-Op #transsexual #thiagosaladyboy

'Baffles me, which way he's going. Is he a man changing to a woman or a woman changing to a man Can't work it out.'

Inflammatory: Barton took to Twitter to slate the PSG defender

Inflammatory: Barton took to Twitter to slate the PSG defender

Speaking to L'Equipe on Monday, Silva had said: 'There is a Marseille player, I cannot remember his name, an Englishman, who has said bad things about Neymar and Brazilian football, and also about (David) Beckham and (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic.

'Because no one is talking about him, it seems it is fun for him to criticise great players for people to know he exists.'

Jack Rodwell: I was surprised Manchester City bid for me

I was surprised City signed me, admits Rodwell as he reveals injury hell

through injury, but the youngster’s concerns were not limited
to his hamstrings after City made their move last summer.

Familiar face: Rodwell contests with future team-mate David Silva last season

Familiar face: Rodwell contests with future team-mate David Silva last season

Manager Roberto Mancini warned that
he had to improve while England boss Roy Hodgson expressed a fear that
he would spend much of the season on the bench at his new club. It did
not help when Rodwell’s misplaced passes led to City conceding goals
against Southampton and Borussia Dortmund in his first few games.

Asked if he was surprised at the
transfer, he said: ‘I was a little bit, yes, because of the injuries –
it was a good surprise though.

‘I’d seen the German doctor
Muller-Wohlfahrt a couple of months before City came in so I felt I was
fit at the time but I obviously wasn’t. I probably didn’t do enough work
after getting treated by him which I know now.

‘I don’t really think about the price
tag or anything like that. When you’re on the pitch you can’t think
about what the fans are thinking. It’s natural when you’ve spent that
much money and you’ve won the league last year, you do expect a little
bit of something in return.

‘I feel as though the fans saw a little bit more of me (against Chelsea) but there’s still a lot more to come in my opinion.’

Manchester City"s Jack Rodwell says yoga, jeeps and a good pillow are what"s helping him avoid injury

Yoga, Jeeps and a good pillow: Injured Rodwell reveals his secrets on road to recovery at Man City

By
Phil Duncan

PUBLISHED:

16:07 GMT, 17 January 2013

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UPDATED:

16:10 GMT, 17 January 2013

Manchester City midfielder Jack Rodwell has admitted to making changes to his lifestyle – including using a different pillow – in his bid to win back full fitness.

City boss Roberto Mancini admitted he was ‘worried’ about the former Everton star after he suffered his eighth hamstring injury since the start of last season whilst playing for the England Under-21s in October.

Rodwell has recently returned to training and is hoping to make an impact for City after making just six appearances since his 12million summer switch from Goodison Park.

Jack Rodwell hopes that the small changes in lifestyle will have an impact on his fitness

Hopeful: Jack Rodwell hopes that the small changes in lifestyle will have an impact on his fitness

‘You have to rule everything out. I have changed my pillow and other silly stuff, but that’s part and parcel of being a footballer,’ said Rodwell.

‘I changed my car completely – I was in a sports car and changed to a Jeep which is more stable for the back and doesn’t put too much stress on it.

‘I am also about 10 minutes drive from training now so I don’t spend a lot of time in the car. I used to feel a little bit stiff. I moved so I don’t have to drive for too long to get there in the morning.

‘I have also started doing yoga. A lot of people said the same happened for Ryan Giggs, that throughout his youth he got a lot of hamstrings. He started yoga, and so have I. I am just trying to do everything right.’

Rodwell, who hasn’t played for City since the beginning of October, added: ‘It’s been frustrating for me as I’ve been injured a lot but, hopefully, I can get more fitness and get time on the pitch. I’m back in training now, so I’m positive.

‘When you sign for a new club you just want to play and when injury stops you it is frustrating. You can’t be negative – I’m through it now and have the second half of the season to look forward to.’

Nemanja Vidic set for Manchester United return as Nani faces five weeks out

Vidic set for injury comeback against Cluj as Nani faces five weeks on sidelines

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UPDATED:

10:23 GMT, 30 November 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed that Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic is on course for an early return from injury – but revealed that Nani could be out for up to five weeks.

The Portugal winger has not played since the Champions League tie in Braga at the start of the month and could now be missing until the New Year.

It is a further setback for Nani whose future at Old Trafford has been thrown into doubt by an ongoing contract dispute with the club.

Out: Nani faces five weeks on the sidelines

Out: Nani faces five weeks on the sidelines

Antonio Valencia is also racing to be
fit for next weekend's Manchester derby as he recovers from a hip
injury, but there was better news for United with Vidic back in training
following knee surgery.

'It's amazing that we've been beset
with defensive injuries for quite a long period and now we've got our
defenders back we've got two wide players injured,' said Ferguson, who
has seen Chris Smalling and Phil Jones return to action in recent weeks.

'Nani could be out for a long spell,
maybe four or five weeks. With hamstrings you just need time with it.
'Antonio should be fit for next week with painful hip injury that's
getting better now.'

Comeback: Vidic (centre) has returned to training after undergoing knee surgery in September

Comeback: Vidic (centre) has returned to training after undergoing knee surgery in September

Vidic could even feature in Wednesday's final Champions League group game against CFR Cluj at Old Trafford.

'He started training during the
week,' added Ferguson. He's not been involved in the real competitive
part but at least he's back training with the first team which is good
news.

'It would be nice to play him in the
European game. I wouldn't be afraid of playing him. He's done all his
work, he's just short of match practice. I wouldn't be averse to playing
him.'

Ferguson confirmed that Ryan Giggs
(hamstring) and Nick Powell (virus) are fit for tomorrow's trip to
Reading, while Paul Scholes is available again after suspension.

'It's quite late for Scholesy to get a suspension in November,' said the United boss. 'It's usually around October!'

Tottenham striker Emmanuel Adebayor up for old boys reunion at Arsenal

Tottenham striker Adebayor up for old boys' reunion at Arsenal

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UPDATED:

23:39 GMT, 15 November 2012

Andre Villas-Boas is set to keep faith
with Emmanuel Adebayor for Saturday's north London derby because he
believes players put in extra effort against their former clubs.

The ex-Manchester City and Arsenal
striker was preferred to Jermain Defoe for Tottenham's visit to the
Etihad Stadium last week and the 28-year-old, who scored for Togo in
their 1-0 win over Morocco on Wednesday, is likely to get the nod again.

Up for it: Tottenham's Emmanuel Adebayor is liekly to get the nod

Up for it: Tottenham's Emmanuel Adebayor is liekly to get the nod

'It is an important game for the club,' said the Spurs manager. 'I suggest to make the most of it, we can use individuals' motivations. That is why we used Adebayor also in the game versus City last week.

'These are things that you have to count on. Last year he scored from the penalty spot and had a good game.'

Defoe suffered a hamstring injury during the City game and was being assessed after taking part in light training on Thursday.

Kyle Walker and Aaron Lennon also injured hamstrings against City and went through gentle training sessions yesterday. Mousa Dembele is out with a hip problem.

Villas-Boas admitted a win is needed to bridge the big gap on the top three. Leaders Manchester United are 10 points clear of Spurs, Manchester City eight points and Chelsea seven.

Villas-Boas added: 'It's obvious that Man Utd, Man City and Chelsea are running towards the title. Both Tottenham and Arsenal are not where they have to be. At the moment there is a big, big gap.'

Hugo Lloris confirmed he is unhappy at his limited first-team opportunities. The France goalkeeper said: 'It's a little bit hard to take. This is the coach of Tottenham who made his choice. It is hard to accept.'

Kris Commons in Scotland squad as Jordan Rhodes and Robert Snodgrass withdraw

Commons back in Scotland squad after Levein loses Rhodes and Snodgrass to injury

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UPDATED:

15:14 GMT, 9 October 2012

SOS: Kris Commons is back in the Scotland squad

SOS: Kris Commons is back in the Scotland squad

In-form Celtic midfielder Kris Commons has won a Scotland recall after Robert Snodgrass and Jordan Rhodes pulled out of the squad to face Wales and Belgium.

Commons was a controversial exclusion for the World Cup double header after arguably being Celtic's best player this season.

But the 29-year-old, who last played for Scotland in a friendly defeat by Brazil in March 2011, has been drafted in after Norwich winger Snodgrass failed to overcome the ankle problem which kept him out of action at the weekend.

Blackburn striker Rhodes has also withdrawn with an ankle injury.

Snodgrass started the goalless draw with Serbia last month and Rhodes came off the bench against both Serbia and Macedonia.

Commons was last named in a squad for the friendly against Denmark at Hampden on August 10.

But the former Nottingham Forest and Derby player turned up at the team hotel with a protective boot on after suffering a foot injury for Celtic and was eventually ruled out.

He was also forced to withdraw from the previous squad, for the Carling Nations Cup games against Wales and the Republic of Ireland in May 2011.

Crocked: Robert Snodgrass (left) has lost his battle to be fit for Scotland

Crocked: Robert Snodgrass (left) has lost his battle to be fit for Scotland

He was sent home by the Scotland medical team with tight hamstrings after reporting to the team hotel.

Commons, who has scored two goals in nine international appearances, struggled with form and fitness for much of last season but has re-established himself as a key player for Celtic in an advanced midfield role this term.

Scotland manager Craig Levein previously said there were more than half a dozen players ahead of Commons in his position and that he was 'really unlucky' to be left out of his initial squad.

Agony: Jordan Rhodes (left) misses Scotland's World Cup qualifiers

Agony: Jordan Rhodes (left) misses Scotland's World Cup qualifiers

Commons last week admitted his exclusion had left him 'baffled' and later told Celtic's matchday programme that his international career was the last thing on his mind.

The developments mean Levein has 22 players available for the Cardiff City Stadium clash on Friday night and the game in Brussels four days later.

Steven Naismith had previously dropped out of the squad after being handed a two-match FIFA ban for elbowing Serbia's Srdjan Mijailovic while Blackburn defender Grant Hanley pulled out on Monday with a groin strain.

London Paralympics 2012: Prosthetics to out-perform able-bodied soon, say experts

Paralympians to out-perform able-bodied soon thanks to prosthetic advances, say experts

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UPDATED:

12:17 GMT, 28 August 2012

Oscar Pistorius made history in when he became the first double-amputee to compete at the Olympics, and despite failing to take a medal, experts believe Paralympians will soon be outperforming their able-bodied counterparts, thanks in part to future developments in prosthetics.

It is claimed the breakthrough made by 'Blade Runner' will spur other disabled athletes to go even further, perhaps using more advanced prosthetics.

'The technology will only improve,' said Bryce Dyer, an engineering design expert focusing on elite sport at Bournemouth University.

History maker: South Africa's Oscar Pistorius competed against able-bodied athletes during the Olympics at London 2012

History maker: South Africa's Oscar Pistorius competed against able-bodied athletes during the Olympics at London 2012

David James of the Centre for Sports Engineering Research at Sheffield Hallam University, added: 'We're already at the era where prosthetics can outstrip human performance. With the developments being made in things like powered knees and ankle joints, athletes will soon be flying down the track.

'It's possible Paralympic athletes could one day run faster than Usain Bolt.'

The blades currently being used don't give Paralympic runners the same amount of energy able-bodied runners get from their legs – the athletes are powered only by their hamstrings or hip flexor muscles, as opposed to the additional power a regular runner gets from his or her thigh, calf and ankle.

'In the future, you might see nanotube technology that could produce the same structure as in a biological leg and give you the same amount of energy,' said Philippa Oldman, head of manufacturing at the Institute of Mechanical Engineers.

Oldman added that carbon fiber blades like the ones used by Pistorius don't offer any net advantage.

Advances: Stef Reid has six pairs of prosthetic legs used for different activities

Advances: Stef Reid has six pairs of prosthetic legs used for different activities

Still, it's unclear how much these high-tech prostheses will help ordinary people who need artificial limbs. Prosthetics in the Paralympics are the product of thousands of dollars of research and designed for a very specific purpose: improving sports performance. Their benefits may trickle down to the general population, but much of what is showcased at the Paralympics is restricted to elite athletes.

Bruce McLelland, an engineer who has an artificial leg, said the prosthetics used at the Paralympics are 'a world away' from what he uses. McLelland has a normal artificial leg for everyday use and another one for swimming.

He said his legs incorporate some of the design of the running blades, including being made of carbon fiber so they are lightweight while also being strong and flexible.

'The blades are great if you're going to go running, but they would not suit everyday life,' he said. 'They also don't really fit well into your normal trouser legs,' McLelland said.

In wheelchair sports, some countries including Britain and Japan have partnered with car companies to ensure the wheelchairs will one day be available on the mass market.

To give athletes an edge in sports like wheelchair rugby and basketball, the chairs are now more agile and lightweight, an advantage ordinary wheelchair users could certainly benefit from.

Still, McLelland said his artificial leg, even if it is somewhat outdated, is just fine. 'I'm very happy with it and haven't noticed anything detrimental,' he said. 'But then again, I'm not trying to break any world records.'

Michael Owen Interview: Manchester United striker talks about his football career and horse racing

Michael Owen: I've played for Liverpool, Real, Newcastle, Man Utd. I won 90-odd caps, scored 40-odd goals and don't need to work again – so I'm not THAT unlucky!

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UPDATED:

23:03 GMT, 5 April 2012

Michael Owen runs a finger along the back of his right leg where a hamstring used to be and retraces a career path that changed one fateful night in Leeds 13 years ago.

April 12, 1999. Owen’s star was in the ascendancy after that goal against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup and a successful second season for Liverpool when the 19-year-old fell to the turf at Elland Road.

‘You’ve got three hamstrings and one was just totally ruptured,’ he says, raising his leg off the sofa to demonstrate the point.

Rare breed: Michael Owen is two weeks away from full fitness - and that could strike fear into the hearts of Manchester City fans

Rare breed: Michael Owen is two weeks away from full fitness – and that could strike fear into the hearts of Manchester City fans

‘It should be right the way down but one bit starts there, attaches there and the rest of it attaches there. I’ve got no hamstring in the middle. I’m basically running on two hamstrings on my right leg and three on the other.

‘That injury has probably changed my whole career. I’ve been compromised from the age of 19.

‘Every specialist says the same thing. It goes from one and then you compensate and it goes to the other one, and then to the groin, and then a double hernia and then on to this.’

Owen is referring to the thigh injury that has kept him out since early November. He has played only four games for Manchester United so far this season, but his three goals have kept up a very respectable strike rate of one in every three games (17 in 52 appearances, 34 of them off the bench) since Sir Alex Ferguson surprised many people by taking him to Old Trafford in 2009.

Owen arrived as a free agent that summer after circulating a brochure through his agents in an attempt to persuade clubs that he was not injury-prone.

Mersey master: Liverpool was the club where Michael Owen made his name

Mersey master: Liverpool was the club where Michael Owen made his name

A torn hamstring in the 2010 Carling Cup final, similar to the one he suffered a decade earlier, and his current five-month lay-off might suggest otherwise.

LIVERPOOL

Games: 297 Goals: 158

Analysing Owen’s career has never been easy. Great Without a doubt. He has played for some of the best clubs in the world, was voted European Footballer of the Year in 2001 and lies fourth in the list of England’s top goalscorers with 40, nine behind Sir Bobby Charlton.

But it could have been one of the greatest and Owen knows it.

‘If I’d still been in one piece from the World Cup and gone through my career, what type of player would I have been’ he asks rhetorically. ‘No doubt about it, if I hadn’t had as many injuries I would have been the all-time leading scorer for England.

Goal getter: Owen scored over 150 goals for Liverpool including one in the FA Cup final against Arsenal

Goal getter: Owen scored over 150 goals for Liverpool including one in the FA Cup final against Arsenal

‘I look back on my career like everyone with, “What if this or what if that”

‘There’s regret that maybe the medical care you’re getting now wasn’t available 14 years ago when I had my big injury. With United, I had it surgically repaired and it’s brand new. I wouldn’t even know I had an injury. Back then you just let it go.

ON INJURIES:

You've got three hamstrings and mine was totally ruptured…that changed my whole career

‘Some people will think I was blighted with injuries and that’s a matter for them. I think to myself that I was exceptional at a young age but I paid the penalty for that.

‘I was 15 and playing in the Under 18s for England, I was seven and in the Under 11s at county level, I was playing above myself all the time.

‘When me and Steven Gerrard were breaking through at Liverpool he was phenomenal at 14 but he just couldn’t stay fit. That was the biggest blessing in disguise for him. He couldn’t play so he grew into his frame and all of a sudden he plays a lot more than me in the latter part of his career.

‘I was just ready and as fast as anything, and as mentally strong as anyone out there. I was ready-made to do it when I was young but now I’ve had to pay the price.

‘Bloody hell, when Gerard Houllier said that I couldn’t play every game I remember saying I’ll rest when I’m 30. He was probably right, wasn’t he! Part of me thinks I’ve been the luckiest person in the world as well. I’ve played for Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle, Man United, got 90-odd caps for England, 40-odd goals, don’t need to work again, got four great kids. I’m not that unlucky!

Making it on the world stage: Owen scored a wonder goal for England against Argentina as a teenager in 1998

Making it on the world stage: Owen scored a wonder goal for England against Argentina as a teenager in 1998

‘I got a hat-trick in the Champions League, scored against Aston Villa in the Carling Cup final, the winner versus Manchester City and the last goal of the season (against Blackpool) when we won the league. There have been great moments, but this season has been a bloody nightmare with the injury.’

REAL MADRID

Games: 40 Goals: 14

Owen is sat in the upstairs entertainment area of the Manor House Stables he co-owns with his business partner Andrew ‘Bert’ Black in Malpas, a picturesque village on the Cheshire border with Wales. It’s an idyllic setting, half an hour from

Northop where he lives with wife Louise and their young family.

A series of turns through the country lanes takes you to a long driveway, past the mile-and-a-quarter gallop and down to the house where trainer Tom Dascombe lives on site. Three dogs, German short-haired pointers, laze in the afternoon sun.

Among the racehorses poking their heads out from two sets of stables either side of a pristine lawn are Owen’s Ascot winner Brown Panther and Wayne Rooney’s horse Switcharooney.

Pain game: Owen has suffered with injuries throughout his career

Pain game: Owen has suffered with injuries throughout his career

Cuban Tash is owned by a syndicate of eight United players past and present, with Paul Scholes, Michael Carrick, John O’Shea and Tom Cleverley among the teammates who have bought a stake in some of the 90 horses resident there.

Ferguson too is a keen follower of the sport.

ON ENGLAND:
No doubt about it, I would have been the all-time leading England scorer

On one side a hostel has been built to accommodate 10 stable lads among a staff of 40, next to a veterinary area complete with hydro pool.

‘There wouldn’t be too many yards in Europe or the world with their own facilities on site like that,’ says Dascombe. If only this kind of medical care had been available to Owen when he needed it most.

The 32-year-old United star and Black have invested millions, but Owen isn’t in it for the money.

He loves the sport; loves horses and the personal involvement. It’s why a striker renowned for his clinical, cold-blooded approach to scoring goals wept when Brown Panther won the King George V Stakes at Ascot in June.

‘This was like my son or a family member doing something pretty special,’ says Owen. ‘It almost gets you inside as opposed to a scream of joy or excitement, like winning something or scoring a goal.

‘I think people were surprised because they didn’t realise what goes into it.

‘Nobody knows what it takes to get that horse there. I own the mother and we’ve got all the brothers at home. From a few hours old we’ve seen him being brought into this world. The ups and downs.

Galacticos: Owen joined stars such as Ronaldo and David Beckham at Real Madrid

Galacticos: Owen joined stars such as Ronaldo and David Beckham at Real Madrid

Breaking it in, putting the saddle on its back, chucking its jockey off, all the things you need to learn. And then to see it win on the grandest stage of all when I’ve had it as a pet.

NEWCASTLE UNITED

Games: 79 Goals: 30

‘People are spending millions and millions to get a Royal Ascot winner. But to breed one What I did there was a million to one. It’s impossible to do. I’m obviously just very lucky.’

Horseracing has helped bring out the other side in Owen. He can express himself more easily these days than the intense young man who used to distrust the world and snap at his family. He regularly airs his opinions on Twitter.

‘I’ve formed more friends out of this place than I ever have in my football career because you’re in a tight bubble,’ says Owen, speaking to mark the launch of Manor House’s three-year partnership with Trinity Elite, a tax, accounting and wealth management specialist.

‘You’re scared what you say because different things get out, but here you can relax and meet like-minded people.

‘If you look at anyone at the top of their profession, there has to be something a little bit different. Some of the top musicians are quirky aren’t they, to say the least. You have to be driven, cold, hard and mentally tough as iron.

No fun on the Tyne: Owen suffered relegation with Newcastle

No fun on the Tyne: Owen suffered relegation with Newcastle

‘My missus thinks I’m a bit weird. I’m cold and don’t have many emotions really. When Brown Panther won I had a tear in my eye but I don’t think I’ve cried in about 20 years.

‘When I was at the top, I had more quirks than now. My wife thinks I’ve mellowed. I was tough to live with a few years ago, she tells me.

ON RACING:
I've formed more friends in this sport than I ever have in my football career

‘On match days I was very on edge if there was anything said to me. She would go into a different room because I would spin things. I was so fired up and ready. I was a lot more volatile. Not physically, just in terms of what I said.

‘I thought I was reasonable but I’d take it out on the ones I love most. My mum used to get it in the neck as well. I never did that with my dad, maybe because I was trying to impress him most with my performances.

‘I was a bit sheltered in my early life because it’s very uncommon for someone so young to be in the spotlight. If you’re a goalscorer you have to have a certain attitude because not everyone can do it.

‘But there was no game face. That was me. I’m very serious. I’m a lot of things that people wouldn’t be able to understand.

‘You’re obviously conscious of being brash or big-headed but I always knew I was going to be a footballer when I was seven or eight. I didn’t just think I wanted to be one, I knew I was going to be one. Nothing ever surprised me really.

Surprise move: Owen joined Manchester United on a free transfer in 2009

Surprise move: Owen joined Manchester United on a free transfer in 2009

‘A bit like when I scored the goal against Argentina. I came back and it’s like, “What did you expect me to do” I expected to do that. If you don’t think you’re going to do something, then you’ll never do it.’

MANCHESTER UNITED

Games: 52 Goals: 17

Owen is as sensitive about his horseracing commitments as he used to be about his injury record.The last thing he wants is to be seen as an old pro serving out his career and picking up a salary while pursuing an expensive interest outside the game.

‘When I retire from football, I won’t do any more or less than I do now,’ says Owen, who has already started his coaching badges. ‘If it (his business) washes its hands and we have a nice profit out of it, that’s fine, but football is where I want to stay for the rest of my career.

‘I never intended it to be this grand. Once my partner bought in, we’ve taken it to the next level and now it’s something pretty damn special, but it still hasn’t changed my life in many ways.

‘Footballers are criticised for not planning for the future and getting depressed because they’ve nothing to get up in the morning for.

Familiar scene: Owen scoring against Israel at Wembley in 2007

Familiar scene: Owen scoring against Israel at Wembley in 2007

‘Then if you do this, the first question is, “Doesn’t this take your mind off football” so you can’t win whatever you do. Either you’re a dumb footballer not thinking ahead or you’re not concentrating on football enough. I still probably spend five per cent of my time here, 20 per cent with my family and 60 per cent training.’

ON RELATIONSHIPS:
My missus thinks I’m a bit weird. I’m cold and don’t have many emotions really

Dascombe sees a different side to Owen. They talk every day and meet at the stables every couple of weeks.

‘He always gets very excited,’ says the trainer. ‘Embarrassingly excited, even if we have any little winner, whether he owns it or not.

‘We had a launch day here two years ago in March and our first run from here won a big race down at Lingfield. He was stood here watching it on Sky and he was dancing around, hugging me. He loves his horseracing. He is absolutely so passionate about it. He feels that they’re all his.’

Another regular sight: Owen is forced to leave the pitch during Manchester United's Champions League game with Otelul Galati in November

Another regular sight: Owen is forced to leave the pitch during Manchester United's Champions League game with Otelul Galati in November

The United striker is two weeks away
from full fitness. It means he could feasibly play in the Manchester
derby on April 30, which should strike fear into the hearts of the City
fans still haunted by his injury-time winner in the 4-3 classic at Old
Trafford in September 2009.

Ferguson gave Owen a new one-year contract last summer. There is no guarantee of another.

ENGLAND

Games: 89 Goals: 40

‘I don’t think I’ll play until my late 30s like Giggsy,’ he says. ‘But I’d like to play more, probably for two or three years after this season.

‘I don’t wake up in the morning with sore knees or an achilles. It doesn’t take me half an hour to get out of bed as I hear from some older players. None of that resonates with me. When I get injured it’s sudden and a disaster for three or four months, never just a week.

Next step: Owen has moved into the world of horse racing and owns a number of horses including Brown Panther who won the King George V stakes at Royal Ascot

Next step: Owen has moved into the world of horse racing and owns a number of horses including Brown Panther who won the King George V stakes at Royal Ascot

‘As long as I’m wanted at a good level I
will play on, but part of that is in my hands and part isn’t. I’ll
wait to see what the manager says on that.

ON THE FUTURE:
I want three more years as a player and then spend the rest of my career in football

‘If it happens, great, we’ll talk about it. If not, I’ll try to stay at a high level. I wouldn’t drop out of the Premier League. I want to stay at the top level or look at other markets, but I have four children and they’re settled in school and that’s something to weigh up.

‘There are a couple of possibilities when I’ve finished and media might interest me. Gary Neville is a breath of fresh air and has almost encouraged me to do it. I get excited when it’s half-time now because he’s so intelligent and brings something new to it.’

The options are there but it is clear Owen is not ready to be put out to grass.