Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Football: MORT ANGER OWEN CLAIM; We're Happy for Michael to Play for England Says United's Chairman

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Football: MORT ANGER OWEN CLAIM; We're Happy for Michael to Play for England Says United's Chairman

Article excerpt

Byline: By LEE RYDER

NEWCASTLE UNITED chairman Chris Mort today revealed that the Magpies have never attempted to stop Michael Owen representing England.

But he hinted he would be glad to see the back of the current international break.

Mort, who said today that Owen's pounds 6m release clause "does not exist any longer," expressed his deep disappointment in the club v country tug of war which has allowed the national media to have a field day by claiming there had been a major bust-up between the player and manager Sam Allardyce.

Allardyce has always maintained there has been no rift between himself and Owen and told the Chronicle on October 10 there was no friction or animosity in their relationship.

Owen will link up again with United after England's penultimate Euro 2008 qualifier in Moscow and Mort reflected on two weeks of onslaught from the national media circus.

He told the Chronicle: "It is disappointing because the reality is that Newcastle United are delighted that England regard Michael so highly. It is quite right that they should because he is clearly a tremendous striker for his country as well as for Newcastle United.

"I appreciate that the pinnacle of every great player's career is not just representing their club in every way they can, but also representing their country.

"And I wouldn't want to hold any player back in their desires to play for their country. Michael is a prized asset to this club and we want to look after him but we appreciate that he wants to represent his country as well."

Many may think that having to deal with constant and often negative publicity such as Owen-gate has come as a culture shock for former London lawyer Mort, but the lifelong football fan says he fully understands the nature of the beast when it comes to Newcastle United. …

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