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Owen picks Shearer in all-time England XI despite Twitter row

17:19 EAT 08/09/2019
David Beckham Alan Shearer Michael Owen England World Cup 1998
The former Newcastle United duo have been embroiled in a war of words over social media, but the former still ranks the latter as a national great

Michael Owen has revealed that Alan Shearer would be included in his all-time England XI, despite the pair having been engaged in a public Twitter spat over the serialisation of the former's autobiography.

Ex-Liverpool, Real Madrid and Manchester United striker Owen also revealed that former Three Lions skipper David Beckham would make his team too, having also previously criticised the veteran winger.

Reboot - My Life, My Time, which is being serialised in the Daily Mirror, sparked a row between the former Magpies stars after Owen reflected negatively on his time at St James' Park, during which Shearer was caretaker manager as they were relegated from the Premier League.

The latter struck back, criticising his fellow forward's comments, before Owen countered with additional accusations that his former international team-mate and coach was willing to break his loyalty to the Tyneside outfit.

However, speaking to BBC Sport, the 39-year-old - who won the Ballon d'Or in 2001 and the Premier League with Manchester United in 2011 - has revealed that he would include Shearer in a starting XI of the greatest England players since his debut in 1998.

Reflecting on the striker's inclusion, who he picked alongside Wayne Rooney and over himself up front, Owen described the ex-Southampton man as having "nerves of steel", calling him a "big influence".

"When I was growing up I would've been looking at Alan thinking 'What a player'," he revealed. "I managed to muscle my way into the team to play alongside him at the 1998 World Cup and then played with him up front at the European Championship in 2000 as well.

"We scored plenty of goals together. He was then a big influence in me going to Newcastle United and we were big mates at that point.

"On the big stage, if you're thinking, 'I need someone to finish or take a penalty', he had absolute nerves of steel. He had a huge amount of self-belief and confidence.

"In recent years, you can't mention England centre-forwards in general without mentioning him."

Owen also included Beckham in his 3-5-2 line-up, who he admitted to being frustrated by following the then-Red Devils man's red card in their penalty shootout defeat to Argentina in France at the 1998 World Cup.

"It was difficult to leave Gary Neville out because he was fantastic," he added. "But I'm going to put Beckham in because, well, just look at his England record, his caps and some of his great moments. Of course, he was a very famous person off the pitch but, in the dressing room and around the squad, he was one of the lads.

"In my book, I praise him to high heaven but if I said to you asked you if David Beckham did the right thing in 1998 by kicking someone what would you say? Of course he didn't. He got sent off. It wasn't my fault, the fans' or yours. He made a mistake.

"All I said in the book is that he made a mistake and that harmed our chances - it did. However, that doesn't mean he's not a great player and isn't going to get in my team."

Owen also included defenders Sol Campbell, Rio Ferdinand, John Terry and Ashley Cole in his team, alongside additional midfielders Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Paul Scholes, while naming Glenn Hoddle as his manager of choice.