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Sunday, 9 June, 2002, 22:43 GMT 23:43 UK

Michael Owen

Club: Liverpool
Position: Forward

So dependent has Sven-Goran Eriksson's side become on the fear that Michael Owen strikes into the hearts of even the best defences, that England are simply not England without him.

They rely on Owen in the same way that Brazil could not do without a fully-fit Ronaldo at France 98.

England must pray that the Liverpool man's dodgy hamstrings stand up to the rigours of life on the toughest stage of all.

The hat-trick with which he tore Germany to shreds in Munich was a potent mixture of breathless pace, unerring accuracy and a poacher's instinct not seen since the days of Gary Lineker.

And yet he is also capable of the spectacular.

Memories of the wonder goal he hit against Argentina four years ago still send shivers of pleasure down the spine of every England fan.

Feeding off the pin-point passing of David Beckham and Steven Gerrard, European Footballer of the Year Owen will be one of the deadliest strikers in the Far East.


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