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Hoddle tribute to Stoke striker Owen

Former England coach Glenn Hoddle has heaped praise on Stoke City striker Michael Owen after he announced his retirement yesterday.

Hoddle gave Owen his debut in 1998, included him in his World Cup squad for the 1998 finals in France, and was rewarded with a sensational goal from the teenager against Argentina.

"He is in the top four of our greatest ever finishers, along with Jimmy Greaves, Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer," Hoddle said.

"Some might say he is at the top of that list.

"He was a baby-faced assassin. His finishing was amazing for a young man. He had that coolness in the penalty box. Some players get anxious but he seemed to get calmer and calmer.

"Michael also had that wonderful intelligence to make the right movement to stay onside. He must have been a nightmare to defend against."

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