What will remembered as one of the best moments of the season and one of the greatest derby day goals ever, Michael Owen’s late winner against Manchester City, made our striker feel as though he had lost consciousness thanks to the adrenalin, which comes with scoring against ‘your arch rivals’.
“It is like you lose consciousness for a bit, the kick that you get from the adrenalin,” Owen explained. “You can count on one hand the occasions when you actually just lose it. You have to go home and think, ‘What did I do for 10, 15 seconds there?’ To score a goal, such a dramatic goal, against your arch rivals, I don’t need to build it up, but it did a lot for me.”
Where does it rank amongst all the goals he’s scored for England, Real Madrid, Liverpool and Newcastle?
“For sheer adrenalin rush, that has to be right up there in the top three,” he added, with his famous run against Argentina in 1998 his favourite. Owen paused for a long time before continuing. “Saint-Étienne was fabulous and changed my life in many ways, but we bloody got knocked out, so there is always a sour taste.”
Owen has already been praised by team-mates for his great movement along the back line and he has today let us in to his tactical mindset.
“If a corner gets cleared and the defence is squeezing out, I am not just jogging back. I am monitoring where the back four are, where the space is,” he continued. “Against City, it was a classic situation where the ball is cleared and I knew there was no one behind me. It could have taken an eye-through-a-needle pass, but, because there’s no right back there, because he’s tucked in, I thought I can make Giggsy’s pass as easy as possible for him by pulling out as far as I could. So I’m back-pedalling as quick as possible. And as soon as Giggsy claps eyes on me, he’s on with the pass. The first touch, that’s the thing that obviously makes the goal. You will always hear people in the game, even my dad, talk about your first touch. It was obviously a nice goal, but it was made much easier first by a fantastic ball and also that I couldn’t have placed it in a better position.”