Michael Owen has admitted he still feels “resentment” towards David Beckham for being sent off in England’s match against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup.
England held Argentina to a 2-2 draw after extra time in the second-round match before going out of the tournament on penalties.
Glenn Hoddle’s team lost Beckham early in the second half when he kicked out at Diego Simeone, after being fouled by the Argentina captain and future Atletico Madrid head coach.
A public backlash against Beckham followed, with many blaming him for England’s defeat. An effigy of Beckham was even hung outside a pub in London.
Owen, who dazzled at the age of 18 in his first major tournament, has revisited the controversy 21 years later.
I can’t really pretend to be enjoying the serialisation period! It’s not my style to criticise people. I’m counting the hours now until the book launches so people can actually read my views in the context they were written. #Reboot #HurryUpTomorrow
— michael owen (@themichaelowen) September 4, 2019
Despite the passage of time, Owen has not let go of negative feelings towards his former international team-mate – later a club-mate at Real Madrid – over the Simeone incident.
Owen wrote in his new autobiography, being serialised in The Mirror: “With the benefit of hindsight and perspective, I feel that what David did probably wasn’t a red card offence in the first place. While it was clearly pre-meditated, it was immature and petulant more than it was violent. But for me, that almost makes it worse.
“All I can say is that, as I sit here now writing this book, knowing how lucky a player is to appear in one World Cup, never mind more than one, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that what David did that day hadn’t let every single one of that England team down.
“Did he deserve the abuse he got afterwards? Certainly not. What human being needs to see his or her effigy being burned?
“But David let us down, and I still hold some resentment about it today.”
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