Jamie Carragher admitted he’d never seen anything like the kind of challenges Michael Owen threw himself into during his early years at Liverpool.
Known primarily for his blistering pace and natural finishing instinct, Michael Owen had a feisty side that didn’t often show itself on the pitch but Jamie Carragher and his Liverpool teammates were more than familiar with it.
Carragher would go on to become close friends with Owen as the pair came through the Liverpool ranks and the defender suggested that Owen was the dirtiest player he played with.
“It was like, ‘who is this kid, he’s like s*** off a shovel’. He was so quick,” Carragher said on the Quickly Kevin, Will He Score? podcast.
“But that Liverpool youth team was a tasty team in terms of physicality.
“I mean some of the tackles we did and got away with, but then Michael turned up and it was like ‘oh my god’.
“We were all like from the back streets of Liverpool and this kid from Chester has come in and you should have seen the tackles he was doing.
“He was just topping people all over the pitch, oh my God.
“And if you remember when he first got in the Liverpool team he was like that.”
Owen was not blessed with size but he never backed down from a challenge, leaving plenty on Peter Schmeichel and David Weir according to Carragher.
As he got older, Owen’s willingness to throw himself about seemed to wane but Carragher has a theory that the striker’s agents got hold of him and warned him to avoid developing a nasty reputation if he was to secure a big-money move.
“Honest to God, I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Carragher.
“And I think one of his agents must have said, ‘listen, you’ve got an image you’ve got to play up to, you can’t be doing this’.
“And he stopped tackling. He didn’t do any of those bad tackles any more.”