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Owen can become a Toon legend

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NEWCASTLE legend Peter Beardsley believes Michael Owen can join him in Geordie folklore following his strong finish to last season.

 

Owen misses England’s friendly with the United States at Wembley tonight, as he is currently shaking off the effects of a virus.

 

He will, though, be fit and raring to go come pre-season training in July.

 

Like Beardo, Owen was a real hit in front of the Kop during his days as a Liverpool player, but Newcastle fans are still to see Owen enjoy an uninterrupted campaign.

 

Beardsley today tipped him to join greats like Les Ferdinand, Alan Shearer and Andy Cole in Newcastle’s hall of fame.

 

He told the Chronicle: “Michael is wearing No 10 – but he can be as popular as a No 9.

 

“He is just a fantastic player and I am pleased for him.

 

“He has never changed his outlook on the game – what you see is what you get.

 

“He is very much his own man, and that is fine.

 

“When the goals do not go in and the football is not working around you, which it wasn’t under Sam Allardyce, people say he does not look like he cares.

 

“When he scores a few goals everybody realises what a good player he is.”

 

Owen looked comfortable in his role just behind a front two of Oba Martins and Mark Viduka, and Beardsley feels it brought out the best in the 28-year-old hitman.

 

He added: “He has scored and made goals, and when you look at the role he is playing in now he has played in it really well.

 

“Michael looks comfortable behind the front two and he has done very, very well.”

 

Beardsley insists Owen’s recent form has won the United fans over – especially his two-goal blast in the derby win over Sunderland.

 

Beardsley added: “Michael has proved something to the fans. A few months ago, I think some would have been happy for Michael to go.

 

“Now they are not thinking like that – which is right. They should never have wanted him to go because he is different class.

 

“His ability is there and he thinks quicker than anybody else.

 

“I don’t think anybody else could have scored Michael’s first goal against Sunderland.

 

“He just knew what he was going to do. He went in on the blind side and you just cannot teach that.

 

“Alan Shearer, Les Ferdinand and Andy Cole all had it too.”

 

Meanwhile, United target Bafetimbi Gomis hit two goals on his debut for France during their 2-0 win over Ecuador.

 

However, the 22-year-old St Etienne striker’s double will only mean his asking price of £9m is only likely to go up, especially if he makes Les Bleus’ Euro 2008 squad and excels in Austria and Switzerland.

 

Oba Martins did not star for Nigeria in Graz last night as the hosts took on the Super Eagles. Martins had been at a wedding in Lagos.

 

Andy Carroll will play for England Under-19s in their second game of the European Championships elite qualifying round against Serbia in Borisov today, while Charles N’Zogbia will turn out for France Under-21s against Portugal in a friendly in Malmo this evening.

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