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Last Updated: Monday, 2 April 2007, 16:38 GMT 17:38 UK
Owen Hargreaves column
By Owen Hargreaves
England and Bayern Munich midfielder

What motivates me as a player are the big games - and Tuesday's match with AC Milan definitely has me excited.

Owen Hargreaves lifts aloft the 2001 Champions League trophy after victory over Valencia
The 2001 final seems a long time ago and is not something I think about

The first leg of our quarter-final takes place in the San Siro - the venue at which I won the Champions League with Bayern Munich in 2001.

But in all honesty it seems a long time ago now and will have no impact on this tie. Certainly none of their players will care about it.

Matches come so often that all my energy and enthusiasm is spent looking ahead, not dwelling on the past.

I have seen enough of Milan over the last five years to know how they play, what sort of positions they like to pick the ball up in and how they try to use it.

Playing against them is not about studying tapes - it comes down to how you set about it and how you perform on the day.

With Oliver Kahn and Mark van Bommel unavailable you might be wondering how we will approach the game. Well, make no mistake about it, I want to win on Tuesday.

I have come across a lot of teams who defend for their lives but there is no way we will take to the field playing for a draw.

I have been at Bayern for nine years and that has never happened. We will look to get forward and score some goals.

OK, Kahn and Van Bommel are missing but we have other players capable of making a big impression.

Michael Rensing is a fantastic goalkeeper - I don't think we have lost when he has played - while Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger are a real handful on the left-hand side.

They look to constantly attack and cause a lot of problems - and they will be looking to put Milan under a lot of pressure.

Milan have plenty of quality themselves, none more so than Brazilian star Kaka.

I think that Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo are the best two players in the world at the moment.

Kaka is a player we will have to try to restrict.

I'm sure he will cross my path a few times - and coming up against the best is a great challenge.

I think the three English clubs will go through to the semi-finals

Kaka is not really about tricks but he is a fantastic footballer.

He has a great physique, a great touch and fantastic technique. He is also a great finisher and a good header of the ball with excellent balance.

Kaka also seems extremely relaxed on the ball and that allows him to use his attributes accordingly. He is the complete package and that is what makes him so special.

Of the other quarter-final ties I think the three English clubs will go through.

Manchester United play Roma, Liverpool take on PSV Eindhoven and Chelsea face Valencia.

I think the tightest of these contests will be between Chelsea and Valencia, who have a lot of good players going forward.

Manchester United and Chelsea are both in action on Wednesday. I'll be back in Munich by then and definitely watching one of them.


Owen, in your opinion do you think England will qualify for Euro 2008 and then go on to win the tournament?
Kenneth, Malta

No matter what everyone seems to think, I am 100% confident that we will qualify. When the finals come around I am sure that we will be one of the favourites.

Hi Owen, what are your thoughts on Andy Johnson and David Nugent?
Simon Villiers, England

I had seen David Nugent play for the England Under-21 team. He is in the team to score goals and you saw that on his senior debut when he came on and nicked one at the end. AJ has had a great season for Everton and was a bit unlucky not to score against Israel and Andorra. His movement was good, though, and he worked hard for the team.

There are always people winding opponents up on the field. What, in your experience, is the funniest thing ever said to wind up an opponent?
Nitish Mehta, Ilford, UK

I have come up against players from different countries, speaking different languages and half the time you do not understand what people are saying.

You know it is not nice but you don't know exactly what it is.

People have said all sorts to me and it does not really bother me.

The England team are a very honest and hard working group of players - at times too honest

The difficulty in keeping your cool comes as a result of poor challenges and deliberate attempts to hurt people.

The England team are a very honest and hard-working group of players - at times, too honest.

When you see some of the challenges that come in without our players staying down and then look at the reaction of some of the opposition teams - it is frustrating.

What do you think about the English press?
Hassan Mustafa, England

Without the press and the supporters football would not be what it is. England and Italy are probably the two most fanatical countries when it comes to the attention that football receives.

Everything that happens is closely scrutinised - sometimes it is good and sometimes it is bad. When you have been in the business long enough you get used to the ups and downs.

The earlier you are exposed to it the better. If you look at the things David Beckham went through it made him stronger and a better player for it.

If you hadn't become a footballer what career path do you think you might have taken?
Clive Weir, England

To be honest with you I never really thought about it. I was young when I got into football and moved to Germany at 16. I grew up in a sporting family and tried to emulate the people I saw on television, as well as my brother and father.

  • Every week Owen will be answering a selection of your questions in his column. So, using the postform at the top of this column on the right, send us your questions and we will put some of them to the England international.

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    AC Milan v Bayern Munich
    02 Apr 07 |  Europe
    Bayern's European triumph
    23 May 01 |  Photo Galleries
    Roma v Man Utd
    02 Apr 07 |  Europe
    PSV Eindhoven v Liverpool
    02 Apr 07 |  Europe
    Chelsea v Valencia
    02 Apr 07 |  Europe


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