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Eriksson pays tribute to Owen

19 March 2013 22:38

Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson expressed disappointment after learning of Michael Owen's decision to retire.

Owen - who won the Premier League with Manchester United and UEFA Cup with Liverpool, as well as the 2001 Ballon d'Or award - announced he would retire at the end of the league season, as he sees out his professional career with Stoke City.

Eriksson's fondest memory of Owen was the England striker's hat-trick against rivals Germany in a 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Munich, which the Three Lions went on to win 5-1.

"It's a sad story for football (Owen's retirement). You know as the whole world knows that, if you have Michael Owen in your squad, he will never create a problem for you. Well, the only problem would be if he was injured," the Swede said.

"But he is a good professional and a very, very good man. He is always happy ... a perfect professional both on and off the pitch. You knew that, if he was on the pitch, the chance to win is always there until the very last second of the game."

Eriksson fondly recalls Owen's heroics on German soil, a feat he says highlighted the Englishman's unique ability.

"There are so many good memories about Michael Owen and my relationship with him in that player-coach role," he said.

"But the standout memory for me must be when he scored three goals away against Germany.

"I never thought about it, but I wonder know how many players have scored three goals in a single game against Germany while playing away. There can't be very many, if any at all."

Former England teammates James Milner and Frank Lampard also paid tribute to Owen.

Both fondly recalled Owen's memorable goal in the 1998 World Cup against Argentina.

"Growing up watching him (Owen) and watching his goal against Argentina, watching that as an England fan and I've been lucky enough to play with him too and see his quality first hand," Milner said.

"I don't think people give him the credit he deserves for his record over there and I think his contribution to English football and global football is massive and he'll be missed."

Lampard added: "To come on at the age he did against Argentina and score a goal of such eye-catching quality was just a spectacular moment and I couldn't believe the confidence he had to take that goal.

"It's something that sticks in the memory and he deserves that."

Owen, 33, earned 89 caps for England, scoring 40 goals.

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