My Wembley Memory: Michael Owen

Monday, 07, July, 2014
Owen scores against Russia

Seventeen Wembley appearances, eight goals, the first player to score at the old and the new stadium - Michael Owen’s record at the national stadium is the envy of many a striker.

And the diminutive striker didn’t have a GCSE under his belt when he opened his Wembley account as a slight 15 year old!

Owen even did it against the mighty Brazil as he struck the only goal of a schoolboy international rounding current Brazil No1 Julio Cesar to slot home.

Looking on from the other end of the pitch as he did so was a young striker called Ronaldinho, no doubt wondering what he could do emulate this prodigy.

Despite that game being over 19 years ago, Owen remembers it well.

“I loved my first ever time playing at Wembley,” recalled Owen, “playing against Brazil for the England schoolboys.

“I remember Terry Venables was England manager at the time and he came to watch.

“That was my first taste of Wembley and I’ve loved it ever since.”

From that fairly humble beginning Owen went on to develop a love affair with the stadium.

He struck two more goals at the old Wembley Stadium and finished the way he had started, by scoring against Brazil.

Owen earned England a 1-1 draw back in 2000 against a flourishing Selecao outfit which would go on to win the World Cup two years later.

Wembley then closed its gates but when it reopened seven years later Owen was quick to make history on the hallowed turf of the national stadium.

The England striker became the first player to score at both the old and new Wembley Stadiums when he struck the Three Lions’ second in a 3-0 win over Israel during qualifying for the 2008 European Championships.

The surprising thing about Owen’s Wembley record is that, despite all his goals, it took 15 years from his national stadium debut to the moment the pacey forward got to climb those famous steps to lift a trophy.

But, like buses, when one finally came along a second followed almost immediately.

Manchester United trailed to an early James Milner goal in the 2010 League Cup Final against Aston Villa.

Villa had won the 1994 Final against United and when the Midlands side grabbed the lead with a fifth-minute penalty they probably fancied their chances of repeating the feat.

Unfortunately for them, Owen had other ideas.

The striker swept home the equaliser from the edge of the penalty area just seven minutes later before departing the scene before half-time with an injury.

But Owen’s contribution had already made the difference though and United went on to win the game 2-1.

Owen then added to that by winning the 2010 Community Shield against Chelsea but the striker only saw out 45 minutes of that match so it’s little surprise that neither of the former United man’s 2010 triumphs rank amongst his finest Wembley moments.

But what is? asked the man himself: “I’ve scored many goals at Wembley, in cup finals and in internationals. It’s been a kind stadium to me.

“Winning a cup final is always special but scoring two against Russia in the qualifiers for Euro 2008 stands out.

“We needed to win for qualification and I scored the first and second goals in a 3-0 win.

“That was one of my better performances for England and was a real stand out.”

Relive Owen’s two goals from that game below.

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