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I still resent Beckham, he let England down – Owen

13:56 GMT+3 04/09/2019
David Beckham, England, 1998 World Cup vs Argentina, Red Card
A knock-out clash in France over two decades ago could have gone very differently if the midfielder had kept a lid on his emotions

Former England striker Michael Owen has revealed that he still harbours resentment towards his old Three Lions team-mate David Beckham after the latter was sent off in a crunch clash with Argentina in the 1998 World Cup.

England were drawing 2-2 with a side captained by Diego Simeone, having reached the last-16 of the showpiece event in France. With the match finely poised, Beckham was given his marching orders early in the second half for an immature swipe at Simeone.

And Owen, as detailed in his new book 'Reboot', currently being serialised by the Mirror, still wonders what could have been if 'Becks' had kept his emotions in check on that fateful day.

“I’ll start by saying that David and I always got on well on a personal level. He was obviously a very talented player," said the ex-Liverpool forward.

“I always admired him massively because I always felt that nobody, I repeat, nobody, worked harder than David to maximise the talent he did have.

“But after that World Cup in France, few would argue that his and my paths were different. I became the darling of English football for a period of time whereas he became the villain.

“The general feeling in the dressing room immediately after the match was that there was nothing to say about him getting sent off. What could any of us have said to him that would have changed anything? The damage was done.

“Whether I thought his actions lost us the game or not didn’t matter. For me, at that time, it was about hierarchy and standing. I was just a junior member of that squad. I was really just a kid.

“But... sitting here now, with the benefit of hindsight and perspective, I feel that what David did probably wasn’t a red card offence in the first place. While it was clearly pre-meditated, it was immature and petulant more than it was violent. But for me, that almost makes it worse.

“All I can say is that, as I sit here now writing this book, knowing how lucky a player is to appear in one World Cup, never mind more than one, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that what David did that day hadn’t let every single one of that England team down.

“Did he deserve the abuse he got afterwards? Certainly not. What human being needs to see his or her effigy being burned?

“But David let us down, and I still hold some resentment about it today.”