Michael Owen: Little Pea Is Just Like Little Me

One of the hardest things in sport is to accept that somebody is about to take your place, to look across a dressing room and see youthfulness staring back. Michael Owen does this every day. The embodiment of what Owen once was arrived at Manchester United last summer in the shape of Javier Hernandez. Young, quick and full of goals. Some call him Chicharito. Others prefer Little Pea. What is beyond question is that the young Mexican appears to represent the future.

Owen - still only 30 but unsure of his Old Trafford prospects beyond next May - could be excused for being a little wistful. After all, it’s 13 years since people were making this kind of fuss about his first Premier League goals. "No I am not wistful, You’re excited for him in many ways, excited about what he could achieve. It’s a long way down the line but he’s got the potential. Knowing how I felt when I started out, you’re excited for all young players," smiled Owen yesterday.

If Owen is excited about Hernandez’s arrival, then United’s supporters are ecstatic. There were sombreros in the crowd at Old Trafford on Tuesday as the 22-year-old scored his third goal in as many days to knock Wolves out of the Carling Cup. Owen watched that goal from an executive box high up in the Stretford End. Having pulled his hamstring executing a back-heel in training last Friday, he may not play again for a month.

"There are some people you just want in that position when the ball drops. He’s on the crest of a wave. He could have tripped over and it would have gone in off his shoulder. That’s what happens when you’re on a roll. When he went though, all those things flash through your mind - he’s confident, he’s just come off the bench and it’s written for him," said Owen. Comparisons between Owen and his young team-mate are predictable but on this occasion they would appear accurate. Hernandez is slight, gunshot quick, baby-faced and, most importantly, a naturally gifted finisher.

"I don’t think there are many goalscorers around. Chicharito is obviously one. You can see it in his eyes. It is more instinctive. You are born with it. Who does he remind me of? Not really that many. Me, perhaps. Jermain Defoe is also that type. You just see in their mannerisms. There are loads of people who can score goals, who might even score 20 a season, but they’re not goalscorers. They might be good finishers. But he’s different. Look at my goals and his goals. You’ll rarely see us curl one into the top corner from outside the box. We can do it but it’s just not a natural position for a scorer. You play by percentages and you score your goals inside the box. His movement suggests he knows where the ball is going to drop and you can’t teach that," claimed Owen.

Source: BBC

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