Football

Wayne Rooney hails Michael Owen as an England great

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Wayne Rooney has paid tribute to his former-Manchester United and England teammate Michael Owen, calling him one of the "greatest strikers to put on an England shirt."

The two prolific forwards shared the pitch together at club and international level, before Owen left United for Stoke City at the beginning of this season.

And speaking to his official Facebook page, Rooney hailed the achievements of the former-Real Madrid and Liverpool forward.

Rooney said: "Really proud to have played alongside Michael Owen for Manchester United and England. One of the greatest strikers to put on an England shirt. All the best for the future mate."

Owen will finish his England career as his country's fourth all-time top scorer with 40 goals from 89 appearances.

He's seven ahead of Rooney in fifth, who has 33 from 79 caps so far. Owen played his last England game in 2008.

The 33-year-old announced his decision to retire from professional football at the end of the current season earlier this week.

His announcement prompted an outpouring of appreciation for Owen, who burst on to the scene as an 18-year-old against Argentina at the World Cup in 1998.

That goal is one of the most memorable by a striker in an England shirt, but his volley finish against Portugal at Euro 2004 and his hat-trick against Germany in Munich in 2001 also showed off his unique finishing ability.

At one stage he looked like he had an excellent opportunity to break Sir Bobby Charlton's all-time England record of 49 goals, but a serious injury at the World Cup in 2006 held him back.

His injury record was never one of the best, but he was unquestionably one of the most clinical finishers England have ever had.

After breaking into the Liverpool first-team while still a teenager, Owen moved to the Bernabeu in 2004, joining the 'Galacticos' of David Beckham, Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and Raul.

His goalscoring form was good in Spain, but he struggled to dislodge fan favourite Raul from the starting line-up.

Owen returned to England for Newcastle a year later, before moving to Manchester United in 2009. His most famous contribution was a last-minute winner against Manchester City, but his playing minutes decreased in 2010 and 2011.

A free transfer to Stoke City followed, but he's only made handful of substitute appearances for Tony Pulis's side.

Topics:
Football
Michael Owen
Premier League
Manchester United
Wayne Rooney

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