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19th Oct 2017

Ex-Liverpool defender is delighted just to be “first sub” in Michael Owen’s best XI

"You just made my week mate"

Robert Redmond

Michael Owen has named a team of the best footballers he played alongside, and a team of the best footballers he played against.

The former striker could select teammates from his time playing for England, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle United, Manchester United and err, Stoke City. He also played against a few decent players during his career, as his opponents’ XI shows.

Before he was the nation’s favourite football commentator, Owen was a prolific striker for Liverpool and England. He won the Ballon d’Or, helped his team to a treble of trophies in 2001 and scored at a World Cup when he was just 18. When he left Anfield for Real Madrid in 2004, Owen had scored 158 club goals at club level. Over the next nine years, he scored just 64 goals as injuries took their toll, sapping him of his pace and restricting him to a bit-part role.

However, at his best, Owen was a lethal goalscorer and he shared dressing rooms with some brilliant players.

For a team of the best footballers he played alongside, Owen selected Edwin van der Sar in goal and a back three of Sami Hyypia, Rio Ferdinand and Jamie Carragher. Roberto Carlos and David Beckham are wing-backs, with Paul Scholes, Steven Gerrard and Zinedine Zidane in central midfield. Wayne Rooney and Ronaldo are up-front. Nemanja Vidic, Luis Figo, Paul Gascoigne and John Barnes make the bench.

The team of his best opponents is Peter Schmeichel behind a defence of Cafu, Marcel Desailly, Jaap Stam and Paolo Maldini. Cristiano Ronaldo, Patrick Vieira, Frank Lampard and Ryan Giggs are in midfield, with Lionel Messi and Thierry Henry up front. On the bench, Owen opted for Roy Keane, Gianluigi Buffon, Raul, Rivaldo and Francesco Totti.

The BT Sport pundit showed off his selections on Twitter.

And Owen’s tweet caught the eye of a former Liverpool defender.

John Arne Riise wanted to know if he made the bench for Owen’s selection of former teammates.

He didn’t, but Owen told the former Liverpool full-back that he was next in line after Roberto Carlos.

And Riise seemed happy to be just behind one of modern football’s great full-backs in the pecking order for Owen’s team.

Owen probably didn’t have the heart to tell Riise that Ashley Cole and Patrice Evra would definitely get into the team ahead of him, and rightly so, let Riise have his moment.