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The recently retired England international believes he can reflect on his career with a great deal of pride after constantly reinventing his game following numerous injury setbacks

Former England striker Michael Owen has revealed he feared the hamstring injury he received at the age of 19 would end his career, but is proud of the way he adapted following the setback.

Owen's top-flight career spanned 17 years and saw him feature for Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle United, Manchester United and Stoke City as well as earning 89 England caps, scoring 40 goals.

The 33-year-old, who retired at the end of last season, admits that he had to adapt his game at an early age following his injury but says he's glad to have had a long and illustrious career in the game.

"When people ask what my proudest achievement in football is, I always say it has been staying at the top for so long," Owen told

"I certainly ended my career playing a totally different game to the one I started with. That all goes back to picking up a very bad hamstring injury when I was 19 that compromised me physically for the rest of my career, and took away that explosive pace that was so important to my game.

"The fact is, I was never the same player after that. Everyone always says 'no regrets', but at the back of my mind I do wish I hadn’t been compromised so early in my career and been able to keep on playing the way I did during those first couple of years, taking players on, going at people with real speed.

"But once I lost that explosive pace, my game became a lot more about becoming that penalty box-type player and then, in later years, a kind of No.10 – a link-up player. It was forced on me really, but I’m still proud that I was able to reinvent myself after that initial injury and still enjoy such a successful career.

"To adapt my game and achieve all that I did, and still be playing for Manchester United when I was 32, is something I’m very proud of."

Owen admits that injuries hampered his career and regrets that he could not achieve more in the game, despite the lows he believes he's been very fortunate over the years too.

"If I had stayed injury-free throughout my career, I’m sure I would have a few more records than I already have," he continued.

"The obvious one would be the all-time England goalscoring record. But everyone can look back on their career and have a little sob story to tell. I know I’ve been very lucky in the grand scheme of things. I’m certainly able to walk away with my head held high."