Man Utd striker Owen: Good finishing not just instinct, but hard work

Manchester United striker Michael Owen says while he has a natural instinct for finishing, his success has come from sheer hard work.

Manchester United striker Michael Owen says while he has a natural instinct for finishing, his success has come from sheer hard work.

Owen, speaking with Inside United, says he's had to learn about positioning and working off the ball on the training pitch.

"A lot of great strikers seem to have instincts built into their make-up. There’s definitely an intuitive element that goes with being a striker – or at least being a certain type of striker. I’d say that I was an instinctive striker, as is somebody like Chicharito. But I wouldn’t have said Wayne Rooney or Dimitar Berbatov are as reliant on instinct as we are. It comes down to making the right runs and being in the right position at the right time. You always have to be ready; you have to be on your toes anticipating where the ball will be. As I said, some people seem to have a knack for that sort of play from an early age and, of course, years of playing as a striker helps hone that as well.

"When I was young, I obviously had a lot of pace, but that wouldn’t have got me anywhere without my instinctiveness in front of goal. The combination of those two attributes helped me get into Liverpool’s first team, but then I had to learn about other parts of the game – dropping deeper, holding up the ball, bringing others into play... I never got taught that as a kid. There are a lot of things you can learn on the way, but if you’ve got one or two potent weapons at the beginning it can give you a head start. From there, there’s a lot of hard work involved and you need to have the desire to improve.

"You can’t get anywhere with just one God-given talent. You can have one attribute that will give you an edge over others in a certain department – you might be very tall, very strong or very fast – but that’s not enough these days. You have to be able to transfer those natural talents into football situations. You have to work very hard."

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