Former England international Owen comes clean on THAT tumble against Argentina
21:30 GMT, 10 October 2012
Michael Owen has admitted going to ground too easily to win penalties for England.
The Stoke City striker said there was a crucial difference between diving and 'pushing the boundaries', but admitted that he fell over easily to win spot-kicks against Argentina in the 1998 and 2002 World Cups.
The issue was brought back into the spotlight when Stoke manager Tony Pulis accused Liverpool's Luis Suarez of diving at Anfield on Sunday, and called on the FA to impose a retrospective ban.
Making his point: Owen (left) admitted he has dived to win penalties in the past
PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor says he wants a review panel to advise the FA on diving and admitted he is in favour of guilty players being banned after video evidence has been studied.
Owen, now 32, was judged to have been brought down by Roberto Ayala in St Etienne in 1998 and Mauricio Pochettino in Sapporo four years later, allowing Alan Shearer and then David Beckham to score for England.
'I'd say 75 per cent of people could stay on their feet for a penalty,' said Owen at the Leaders in Football conference at Stamford Bridge.
'I have been guilty as well. I played at the 1998 World Cup against Argentina and I was running flat out, got a nudge, went down. Could I have stayed up Probably.
Going over: England were awarded a penalty in 1998 after Owen went down under a challenge from Roberto Ayala
'Then four years later (referee Pierluigi Collina) gave me a penalty again against Argentina. Again, I could have stayed on my feet – the defender caught me and I did have a decent gash down my shin from it but I could have stayed up.
'It's a very difficult subject to talk about, especially to people who have not played the game. There is a major skill in trying to outwit an opponent.
'For the actual player, one against one, you're trying to draw people, to commit them to get into the box because you know as soon as you have got them in the box they are petrified of sticking a leg out or doing anything. It is a skill to get them one on one or isolated.
'No-one is for blatantly diving, of course they are not, but there is a part of a striker that actually tries to entice the (defender's) leg to come out to try to win a penalty. It is a skill and it has been done for years and years and I don't think it will ever leave the game.'
Deja vu: Owen won a penalty for England four years later against the same opposition
Owen said that diving is now more prevalent within the English game than it was a decade ago, and he is convinced that it is primarily because of the influx of foreign players.
Wigan boss Roberto Martinez admitted he had to educate a player from Spain; to explain to him that diving was not acceptable in England despite the player's claim that he was only 'making the referee's job easier'.
Former Real Madrid striker Owen said: 'I'd say it's worse than it was 10 years ago, with the foreign influence of the players coming from South America, Spain and Italy.
'When I was a kid, and I used to watch Italian football, you would see a lot of simulation and you didn't really see it in England. Now English players are as guilty as foreign players.
Feeling the heat: Owen is hopeful of featuring for new club Stoke at Old Trafford in their next game
'But I think the foreign influence started the ball rolling in England.'
Collina, now chief refereeing officer at UEFA, added: 'A player has a right to fall if a foul was committed. If he falls without contact this is the problem and if there is no contact this is cheating.
'Simulation is not only against the referee, it's cheating your opponent.'
Taylor told ESPN: 'We would like a review panel comprising respected ex-pros and ex-refs to review such instances and advise the FA. 'I know how the FA feel about retrospective action but at least the advice would be in place.'