Michael Owen has elaborated on his feud with Alan Shearer by claiming that the Match of the Day pundit is using him as a way of getting over “his disappointment of not being a success as Newcastle manager”.
The spat was revealed earlier this week on Twitter, just as Owen had released a number of controversial extracts from his new book about Shearer’s beloved Newcastle United.
These comments irked Shearer, who was briefly the former Liverpool star’s manager during the second half of the Magpies’ ill fated 2008/09 campaign, during which they were relegated after a final day defeat to Aston Villa.
Owen has pinpointed this period as the moment that the pair’s relationship broke down.
“If Alan Shearer has come to the conclusion that I didn't fancy playing in the last game against Aston Villa because I was worried about getting injured and subsequently worried about my next move then, if that's what's in his head and that's how he's overcome his disappointment of not being a success as Newcastle manager, then that's fine in a way,” Owen stated in an exclusive interview with ESPN.
“It's almost like a grieving period and sometimes you've got to blame someone else. I've done it loads of times in my life. Do you think I've come off a pitch and said, 'I've been rubbish today, it's all my fault?' No way. You'll never be a footballer if you're like that. You think 'well the right-back can't pass for toffee, the midfielder is not creative enough, my strike partner is not seeing my run', whatever you think.”
Owen went on to argue that he “put his body on the line” for Shearer during his time at Newcastle but also admitted that he doesn’t see himself making amends with his former England colleague any time soon - even though they were “big mates” prior to the disagreement.
“I've often thought of it,” he admitted. “A few years ago, I knew I was going to be in the same room doing TV with him and I thought about speaking to him then. But he's a strong personality and so am I. I'm not going to change his mind.
“To be honest, I'm pretty surprised it hasn't come out before because we haven't spoken for a long period of time now, sadly.”
Despite all of the headlines that Owen has attracted this week, he claims that he has not been affected by all the negative publicity.
“I don't think any of it has hurt me,” he said. “Some people are having a go at me when it's not even what I said and once they read it in the book they'll think, 'Wow, actually I get what he's saying now.”
Owen’s book Reboot: My Life, My Time is released on September 5.
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