A heated bust-up between Michael Owen and Jason McAteer during a six-a-side tournament proved that Premier League footballers never lose their competitive edge.
You need to possess a fiercely competitive nature in order to become an elite-level sportsperson.
That inner desire to want to constantly improve and win all the time is what allows individuals to reach the top.
The competitive streak doesn’t go away once they bring the curtain down on their carers.
In 2019, former Liverpool teammates Owen and McAteer clashed during a Star Sixes tournament in Glasgow.
Owen, playing for England, was dispossessed by the Republic of Ireland’s McAteer.
An off-the-ball incident then followed, culminating in Owen swiping McAteer’s legs.
Pushing and shoving between the pair ensued and Owen was shown a yellow card by the referee.
The ref then showed McAteer a straight red card for retaliating with a kick.
Watch the incident here:
Michael Owen and Jason McAteer going at each other in Star Sixes is GREAT Sunday night viewing 😲 pic.twitter.com/1nU48MmE4Y— Soccer AM (@SoccerAM) January 6, 2019
A fuming McAteer told Sky Sports shortly after his sending off: “Well, the referee got it wrong, didn’t he?
“We came together, had a little pull of the shirt and span round, then Michael Owen decided to lash out. I didn’t want to let him get away with it.
“The referee didn’t see it, or he didn’t want to see it probably because it’s England and Michael Owen, more to the point.
“We kind of made up a bit, then I gave him a friendly push up the backside.”
McAteer then asked to see the incident again and commented: “How is that not a red card? I’ll tell you why it’s not a red card… because it’s Michael Owen and it’s England and because the officials are that bad.”
Owen went on to win the tournament with England
To make matters worse for McAteer, Owen then went on to score two goals in a 3-2 win for England against the Rest of the World in the final.
“He should’ve been banned for the final, but he played and scored two,” Dean Saunders, who was representing Wales at the tournament, complained.
The following day, McAteer told talkSPORT: “I’ve just managed to get my head together, I’ve calmed down now.
“Let’s clear it up, I never kicked him up the backside. I put my foot on his backside and pushed him away with my foot. There’s a difference. It was kind of like a loving push.
“I’ve got no problem with Michael Owen doing what he did.
“In the heat of the moment, it’s football, these things happen, we’ve kissed and made up.
“It’s the officials that I’ve got the problem with – that’s where my head’s come off.”
QUIZ: Can you name all of these Premier League players from the 90s?
Latest transfer news (Football Terrace)