Michael Owen can’t wait to get back to competitive action when he runs out for England again at this summer’s inaugural Star Sixes tournament in London.
The former Liverpool, Real Madrid and Manchester United striker, who played 89 times scoring 40 goals for his country, is one of five players unveiled so far for England’s side for the first international football competition at The O2.
Though Owen retired from the game in 2013, that competitive streak still runs through him and he knows all 12 nations will be playing to win when the four-day event gets under way on Thursday 13 July.
“It should be great fun. You’re always competitive when you are a professional footballer and when you retire you miss out on that, but it’s there inside you.
“So when that first whistle goes we’ll all be keen to win.
“We’ve had discussions about who is playing, what formations and who else could be in the squad. The juices are flowing already, it’s exciting and a great concept. Everyone is looking forward to it.”
Owen will line up for England again alongside Steven Gerrard, Rio Ferdinand, Emile Heskey and David James, who have all been teammates for both club and country.
Meanwhile, he will also come up against other former teammates, such as Roberto Carlos, Míchel Salgado and Dominic Matteo and big-game rivals in the shape of Germany’s Michael Ballack, Portugal’s Deco and other, as yet unnamed, world football stars.
And, he admits, the England players will need to be fully fit when they arrive at The O2 this summer.
“There’s a lot of players who I’ve played alongside both for club and country, while we’re always interested to see how the other squads are shaping up as well.
“We’re already thinking that Spain are going to be quite good, so we’ve made a pact that we’ve got to keep fit between now and then and get training.
“It’s going to be good to see a lot of old players we’ve played alongside, but we’re also going to be facing players that we’ve played against, so it’s going to be interesting to renew rivalries!”
England will be one of 12 nations competing at the four-day Star Sixes tournament at The O2 arena in London from 13 to 16 July 2017.
International legends including Roberto Carlos (Brazil), Michael Ballack (Germany), Carles Puyol (Spain), Deco (Portugal), Steven Gerrard (England), Roberto Pirès (France), Dominic Matteo (Scotland) and Jay-Jay Okocha (Nigeria) will also be entertaining the fans in the first-ever Star Sixes tournament.