Michael Owen admits to going down easily

Michael Owen
© PA Photos
Stoke City's Michael Owen admits to going to ground easily in order to win penalties for England at World Cups.

Former England international Michael Owen has confessed that he won two penalties during World Cup matches against Argentina by going down too easily.

The current Stoke City frontman made the admission at a Leaders in Football conference at Stamford Bridge earlier today in front of panel that included Italian referee Pierluigi Collina, who officiated one of the matches that Owen was talking about.

"It is the topic of the week. Last year we were probably talking about diving. Next week it will be drugs or racism, we are just round on the cycle. I don't think it's really different from last year," he said. "It is in our game, it is happening so fast these days that it is virtually impossible to see whether there was contact.

"I'd say that 75% of people could stay on their feet for a penalty, and if they get touched and go down it is almost, 'hey got touched so it's okay to go down'. I have been guilty as well.

"I played at the 1998 World Cup against Argentina and I was running flat out, got a nudge, went down. Could I have stayed up? Yes probably. Then, four years later, [Collina] gave me a penalty again against Argentina.

"Again, I could have stayed on my feet. The defender's caught me and I did have a decent gash down my shin from it, but I could have stayed up."

Speaking at the same event, Owen admitted that he had not given up hope of regaining his place in the England squad.

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