Owen: I'll never quit England duty
Michael Owen has insisted he would "never" give up hope of an England recall.
Owen's Three Lions career looks to be all but over, with the striker having not played for his country for four-and-a-half years. But the man who is England's fifth top scorer with 40 goals from 89 caps has no intention of announcing his international retirement.
"I'd never do that, really," said the Stoke striker, who has not started a first-team match for almost a year. "But I certainly don't go to bed thinking I'm going to be playing for England again."
Owen was eager to resume his international career, despite claiming there was "a long list" of England players who were paralysed by fear when when turning out for their country.
The 32-year-old revealed he knew of former team-mates who were scared stiff of criticism of their performances and of being jeered by their own fans.
Speaking at the Leaders in Football conference at Stamford Bridge, Owen said: "I've heard many people in the past leading up to England games, or after England games, talking about what the papers are going to say the next day about them, or how they're going to get booed.
"It's a very intense feeling playing for your country and I don't think people can express themselves, or I don't think people do express themselves, as well as they can or they do at club level.
"At that level, you feel loved, the fans are on your side, you're used to playing with the players week in, week out.
"All of a sudden, you go away with England and it's a little bit, 'As long as I do all right', 'I don't want to be criticised so much'."
He added: "There's got to be a reason and I would say that fear certainly plays a part in that."