Glenn Hoddle is backing Liverpool’s Michael Owen to be England’s number one striker.
But first, Glenn has the job at Anfield on Sunday of stopping the player he helped lift to superstar status when he was in charge of England at the 1998 World Cup.
Glenn handed Owen his full England debut and no-one can forget his wonder goal against Argentina on that memorable night in France that ended with a penalty shoot-out defeat.
Owen, still just 21, has scored 18 goals in club and international football this season and looks back on song after being hit by injury problems last term.
Glenn said: “I still think Michael will be our number one striker in the country at international level.
“Strikers need a lot of time in the team before they get adjusted to international football. You need a proven goalscorer at that level and I think Michael is the natural man to step into Alan Shearer’s shoes.
“I always said he’s more than a natural finisher. If you remember the goal he made for Barmby in one of Liverpool’s early UEFA Cup round it’s a classic example of what I was trying to say.
“That’s Michael. He has an eye for creating as well as being a finisher. I’ve always seen him as a finisher but he’s more than that.
“He’s more than a natural goalscorer. He’s got that but he also has the ability to play with his head up and see who is in the right position and create for others, which is a major thing to have.”
Glenn agreed that Owen looks back to his best after injury.
“He had the problem with the injury and that was always going to be a part of his career," he added. “I see signs he’s coming out of that and he’s back to his best again.
“He’s always had maturity ahead of his years. The injury came at a time when there were massive expectations on his shoulders.
“He’s back to his best now and proving it by scoring goals at international level again. He’s a wonderful lad and a wonderful player.”