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Houllier pays tribute to Owen

Former Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier has praised Michael Owen after the striker announced his retirement.

Owen will bring the curtain down on an eventful 16-year professional playing career at the end of this season, in which he enjoyed much success working with Houllier at Liverpool.

The 33-year-old won the FA Cup, UEFA Cup as well as the League Cup twice under the Frenchman, and claimed the 2001 Ballon d’Or award.

“He was fantastic and practically scored one goal every two games for the national team and the same for Liverpool,” Houllier said.

“As a manager, I was blessed to have met him and to have him in my team because it’s players like him, Jamie Carragher, Steven Gerrard and Gary McAllister that you never forget about.

“They make you want to win and Michael was very much involved in all of the trophies we won while I was Liverpool manager, particularly the cup treble in 2001 (FA Cup, League Cup and UEFA Cup).

“In that year, he won the best award that any footballer can dream of, namely the Ballon d’Or.

“He was a fantastic player, clever and a very intelligent person and I remember the person as much as the player.

“He was extremely fast and quick, but with good speed to withstand any challenges.”

Houllier refused to be drawn on the effect that injuries had on potentially blighting Owen’s career, preferring to focus on his natural goalscoring ability.

“People will think he sustained a lot of injuries, maybe because he overplayed when he was too young,” he said.

“All I can say is that he is a match winner and in many games, sometimes we were 1-0 down, and he would just have this spark to turn around the game.”

Tue 19 March, 2013
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