Michael Owen says he 'respects' Liverpool contract rebel Raheem Sterling for recent stance

Michael Owen

The former Liverpool striker left Anfield in controversial circumstances back in 2004.

Liverpool attacker Raheem Sterling is, without doubt, the talk of football this week. It comes after he conducted an interview with the BBC this week in which he confirmed rejecting a new contract at Liverpool worth £100,000-a-week. He went on to cast doubt over his Liverpool future, discussing his desire to win major trophies.

It has not gone down well with the majority of fans. Liverpool take on Arsenal at The Emirates this afternoon, a team Sterling admitted to liking in his interview, and he can expect a lukewarm reaction from the travelling support.

His exit would certainly not be the first of its kind at Liverpool in recent years. Fernando Torres left for Chelsea, Steven Gerrard nearly did the same. Then there is Michael Owen.

He left for Real Madrid in 2004 and has now been discussing Sterling's future on his Sport Lobster account. He wrote that he was alarmed by how open Liverpool had been over contract negotiations himself:

"One factor to consider is how open the club has been in discussing what is normally a private matter. Why this stance? We normally hear of a contract extension being announced out of the blue once it is done and dusted. Is it a tactic to put the pressure on the player? If it was, it's working.

"Nobody likes to feel like they are getting backed into a corner and if that's the case, I respect Sterling for standing his ground for the time being."

Owen went on to discuss his future suggesting that he would not get in the first-team of Real Madrid or Barcelona - and that a move elsewhere would be a side step rather than a forward one:

"With over two years left on his current deal, his next contract is his most important.

"I don't see what realistic options he has got if a move away from Anfield was on his mind. He wouldn't get into Real Madrid's or Barcelona's teams and any other move surely has to be seen as a move sidewards?"

Owen certainly offered an interesting perspective on things. As a player who actually did leave Liverpool in similar circumstances, he knows what might be going through the mind of Sterling at this moment in time. He also addressed the financial side of things, suggesting that Sterling was well within his right to demand a certain salary if he feels that is his worth.

Time will tell what happens in Sterling's future. But this former Liverpool star certainly seems to understand where the winger is coming from, even if most Liverpool fans do not.

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