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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 13, 2007

Allardyce purrs over 'terrific' Owen goals

Newcastle boss Sam Allardyce today hailed the ice cool temperament of striker Michael Owen after his heroics for England.

The 27-year-old Newcastle hitman put two injury-wrecked years behind him with two match-winning performances for his country just when they needed it most.

Owen's strike against Israel on Saturday helped to secure a comfortable 3-0 victory, and simply served to set the stage for a stunning double in last night's comprehensive win by the same score over Russia.

The £17million man showed nerves of steel to convert a seventh-minute chance from Gareth Barry's cross and then lashed home from Emile Heskey's 31st-minute knockdown to leave Guus Hiddink's men dead and buried.

Allardyce, who sent Owen off on international duty having seen him score his first goals at St James' Park since September 2005 against Barnsley in the Carling Cup and then Wigan in the Barclays Premier League, was delighted as an Englishman, but more so as manager of Newcastle.

He said: 'It was absolutely terrific. I suppose in many ways, they were not the sort of goals Michael regularly scores, but it was absolutely fantastic technique and wonderful execution with such poise and calmness.

'That's the reason Michael is such a great goalscorer - he is at his calmest when he is actually putting the ball in the back of the net, where most players lose their composure. That's why they are not goalscorers like Michael Owen.

'They were terrific goals. They have given us a boost as a club and given England two great results to push and hopefully qualify for Euro 2008.'

Owen's most recent strikes for his club set them on their way to victory over Barnsley and with time running out, clinched three points against Wigan.

Allardyce will hope for more of the same when he takes his side to struggling Derby on Monday night hoping to continue an unbeaten run, and that his star striker has not used up all his finishing power in his country's cause.

He said: 'I just hope it continues from here on now. It's been an absolutely fantastic couple of weeks for Michael and the England camp. It's a terrific couple of wins.

'Michael scored against Barnsley in the cup, he scored against Wigan, he then scored against Israel and then scores two against Russia, which is probably one of the hardest teams in that group.

'To come back with that sort of confidence under his belt and no injury problems is a great, great boost for us all, particularly me, the rest of the players and everybody concerned with Newcastle United.

'I hope it continues on from here and he has recovered enough to continue where he has left off with England at Derby on Monday.'

However, Allardyce will assess Owen in training tomorrow as he considers his selection for Pride Park with Mark Viduka fit after a hamstring injury and Obafemi Martins and Shola Ameobi champing at the bit.

The former Real Madrid man's recent injury history means the manager will take no chances with him.

Allardyce said: 'The last thing we would want now is Michael to pick up another injury through fatigue, but I hope that's not the case.

'The excitement of just being free from injury and playing and scoring has got Michael's adrenaline really pumped up.

'He feels he wants to get out there and feel like his old self again, and I am sure coming back today, that's exactly how he feels.

'But he can still get better. He has still got a lot to do in terms of his rehabilitation.

'He ha to be disciplined in the fact that things are going well now, but he still has to do his exercises on his own, he still has to keep up his rehab on his own over and above what we do on a day-to-day basis to make sure he stays stronger and fitter than he has ever been before.

'If that's the case, he can continue to score goals, hopefully not just for England, but for Newcastle United.'