Why do England fail at tournaments? Michael Owen blames Pizza Hut

From the man who once advertised Domino's...

Michael OwenImage Picture Dave Thompson/Getty

Michael Owen is frequently lambasted on social media for his punditry, but his latest comments on England’s major tournament disasters carry a bit of sense.

It’s off-kilter and slightly eccentric, sure, but sense nevertheless.

In an interview with BBC Sport, Owen claimed that the fear of failure is what holds England back – specifically the aftermath of a tournament exit and being blamed for it.

“You’re the one that misses a penalty and they make a pizza advert about you.”

“There will be one person that everyone’s going to gang up on – the press, the media, whatever – but you’ve got to be bigger than that, not bothered about that and actually just do what’s best for the team.

“There’s been a fear over the years because we all see someone missing a penalty or someone getting sent off and costing the team.”

Owen’s had his fair share of tournament disappointments. With England, he bombed out of World Cups in 1998, 2002 and 2006, and the Euros in 2000 and 2004.

The likes of David Beckham, Phil Neville and Wayne Rooney were all been lambasted during those tournaments, prior to that Chris Waddle, Stuart Pearce and Gareth Southgate all suffered penalty shoot-out trauma.

The latter three all united for a Pizza Hut advert (the one where Southgate had a bag on his head) – and Owen cited this as one of the reasons England play with fear during tournaments.

“The whole country then almost gangs up on that player,” Owen explained.

“There’s a fear amongst the squad – or there certainly was in my time – whereby you just didn’t want to be that person everybody castigates, gets vilified, and you’re the one that misses a penalty and they make a pizza advert about you.”

All that’s a valid argument from Owen, but he appears to have forgotten one crucial thing: he did a pizza advert of his own back in 2006.

That was for Domino’s, though, so at least his anti-Pizza Hut comments will keep him in good graces with his one-time pizza pals. Watch the offending Owen pizza ad below…

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Loaded digital media manager Simon Reynolds has written about film and entertainment for various leading websites since 2008. Follow Simon at @simonreyn