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25th Apr 2018

Michael Owen on the Manchester United player that never fulfilled his true potential

Alright Michael

Patrick McCarry

Guess the Manchester United player…

  • 4 Premier League titles
  • 1 Champions League
  • 1 World Club Championship
  • 1 League Cup
  • 1 Community Shield
  • 181 appearances over eight seasons

It certainly seems like the CV of a player that got the most out of his footballing talent.

That same played left United at the age of 26 and, after a brief spell in Serie A, returned to his native Brazil. He was not long back, at Internacional, when he was subbed off after 36 minutes and needed oxygen after suffering from the effects of playing at high altitude (3,600 metres above sea level).

We are talking about Anderson Luís de Abreu Oliveira.

Alex Ferguson brought Anderson to Manchester United, from Porto, when he was just 19. He had already made his debut for Brazil and won a Copa America by the time he arrived at Old Trafford and was tipped to do great deeds.

By the time Michael Owen arrived at United, four years later, Anderson had three Premier League winners’ medals but there was still talk of unfulfilled potential and him not kicking on.

Owen played three seasons with the midfielder and while he also caught glimpses of him at his very best, was left with the same feelings as so many United supporters.

“He was very talented, was Ando,” Owen told SportsJOE.

“Without being too general, he’d have that Brazilian attitude. He was a pretty relaxed guy. Maybe too relaxed at times.

“He loved being out there with a ball at his feet but he did not bother about weights, or anything really. Him getting back from injuries was often a slow process.

“He was a really good player but if he had that driven mentality, he could have been great.”

Anderson was eventually loaned out to Fiorentina before briefly returning to United. His time at the club ended when Louis van Gaal arrived but the writing had been on the wall for some time.

Back in January, Rio Ferdinand said Ravel Morrison was the one United youngster that should have pushed on and became a club legend. “He was probably the most naturally gifted young kid I’ve ever seen,” Ferdinand told BT Sport.

Owen concurs that Morrison was a special talent. “He was highly touted but was another who struggled with the high demands of being at a top club,” he said.

Owen was in Dublin on Sunday to attend an exclusive event, at The Chocolate Factory, hosted by Cadbury, ‘Official Snack Partner’ to the Premier League. Owen was joined by Supervalu and Centra competition winners from all over the country as they enjoyed a meet and greet, along with a questions and answers session and enjoyed a live game. The 2017/18 season marked the first year of Cadbury’s three-year partnership.