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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 August 2005, 10:53 GMT 11:53 UK
Reaction to Owen's move
Michael Owen
Michael Owen has opted to leave Real Madrid for a return to the Premiership.

But the England striker looks to have made the surprise decision to join Graeme Souness' Newcastle.

BBC Sport presents some views on whether Owen has made the right move.

Former Liverpool defender and BBC Sport football summariser Mark Lawrenson told BBC Radio Five Live: "In a way I'm surprised and in another way I'm not surprised about Michael Owen opting for Newcastle.

"It's great news for the Magpies and obviously Liverpool fans will be disappointed.

"I always had my doubts about Michael going back to Liverpool because manager Rafael Benitez wants to play in a certain way.

"You felt all along that Benitez's hand has been forced in trying to take him back.

"When Benitez was successful as Valencia coach he played 4-2-3-1. Michael could only play as the '1' and not part of the three behind him - that's not the way Michael needs to play.

"Tactically, Benitez really didn't want him.

"However, I do think Owen's decision to go to Newcastle is good news for the England forward, because he will be playing regularly.

"Some say that Magpies captain Alan Shearer and Owen did not work well as a partnership for England, but I honestly don't think that will matter.

"If you look at Shearer these days, he's starting to play a lot deeper and Michael could play further up and wait for the ball to be knocked up.

"I do think this a fantastic coup for Newcastle, similar to when they signed Shearer from under the noses of Manchester United in 1996."

England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson said: "I think it is a very good move for Michael.

"I spoke to him on Monday and he wanted to resolve this situation one way or another and he wanted to come back to England.

"He didn't want to stay in Spain, the only reason I suppose was because he had no idea how many games he would play... and he wants to play in the World Cup, of course.

"When he saw Real buying new players, and new strikers as well, he was getting worried.

"And at the end of the season he could see the World Cup which, of course, he wants to take part in. I think that worried him a lot.

"But now we don't have to be worried about that any more."

Ex-Newcastle midfielder Rob Lee told BBC News 24: "Newcastle are desperate for him.

"He's a natural goalscorer, and will guarantee them 20 to 25 goals a season.

"Newcastle are a fantastic club and the fans will really love him up there. It's going to be immense.

"He's without doubt the best goalscorer for England and he'll enjoy playing together with Alan Shearer again, even if it's only for one season."

Report: BBC News' James Munro and Judith Moritz

Interview: Mark Lawrenson

Interview: Former Newcastle captain Rob Lee

Who will benefit most from Michael Owen's move to Newcastle?
Owen himself
Real Madrid
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Michael Owen's career in photos
30 Aug 05 |  Photo Galleries


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