Michael Owen has named Sir Alex Ferguson as the best manager he played under and Zinedine Zidane as the best player he played alongside in his career.
He spent three years playing under Ferguson at Manchester United towards the end of career. Under the manager, Owen won his only Premier League title, as well as picking up the third League Cup of his career.
Owen had several top names to pick from, including Glenn Hoddle, Gérard Houllier and Roy Evans. But the Liverpool icon has revealed that it was Ferguson who impressed him most during their time working together.
“I played under some great managers, and certain managers were vital for my progress throughout my career. I think I’m thinking of the likes of Glenn Hoddle for England, Gerard Houllier for Liverpool. Roy Evans gave me my debut, but I think one of the best managers of all time is Sir Alex Ferguson,” he told aceodds.com.
“I’d be stupid to to say anybody else. He’s been there, seen it done multiple times. He’s lasted the test of time. Is it 26 years or something? I mean, just think about football, your life changes so quickly.
“But to be managing for 26 years and to be right at the top is quite, quite stunning with all the change that happens. You’ve got to change as a person as well. So I think Sir Alex Ferguson would be hands down, the best manager that I ever played with.”
Owen had a tougher time making his selection for the best player he featured alongside, he named former Real Madrid team-mate Zidane, while also giving special mentions to Ronaldo and Gerrard.
“I always say when asked that question, Zinedine Zidane was probably the best player I played with. He was amazing. But I also say it with a caveat. You know, Ronaldo (the Brazilian Ronaldo) sadly, I only played with him at the end of his career,” he added.
“But he was just off the scale. Considering he was still doing what he was doing with so many knee problems and things like that, he deserves a special mention. As does Steven Gerrard. Stevie could do absolutely everything.
“He could head, he could run, he was fast, he was strong, he could beat players, he could score, he could assist and vision. He had absolutely everything. And I played alongside him since I was this big.
“So we had a particular bond, I think, on a football pitch together. But in terms of pure raw touch and quality and skill, someone who was just born to be a footballer, I think Zidane was the one.”
Zidane, Gerrard and Ronaldo all also made it into Owen’s dream five-a-side team, with the former England player putting himself on the bench. The final spots in his team went to former United keeper Edwin van der Sar and Rio Ferdinand.
“I would probably go for Edwin van der Sar in goal. I would go for Rio Ferdinand as the defender. I’m going to be top heavy with attackers. He was just an unbelievable Rolls Royce of a player,” Owen said.
“I’m going to have to have Stevie Gerrard and Zidane as my midfield and I’m going to go with Brazilian Ronaldo as my striker. I’ll be on the bench just in case. I prefer to watch them than play. That would just be enough watching those a lot play.”