Date: 23rd December 2005 at 2:18pm
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Michael Owen insists he did not ‘snub’ a move to Liverpool to join Newcastle – and admits the suggestion he did makes his ‘blood boil’.

Owen: ‘I don’t have a short fuse but one thing guaranteed to make my blood boil is when Liverpool fans ask me why I snubbed them when I returned to England. There were no snubs on either side. The deal did not happen and both sides have got on with things.

‘Looking back on those mad few weeks, the one thing that no one can say about me is that I was not up front and honest. I had narrowed it down to three options and, all the way through, I made it plain exactly where they stood. As I said at the time, Liverpool were my first choice, Newcastle my second. The third was staying at Real.

‘I had to look after my England place and I had to look after myself. I would always prefer to be playing rather than twiddling my thumbs. The buzz from playing is irreplaceable. Every footballer wants to feel valued and I have had that in spades from the Newcastle people.

‘They understood why Liverpool was my first choice. I had spent more than a decade there and I did think I would be going back when I met Rick Parry and Benítez just before the transfer deadline.

‘We had discussed the wages and all the nitty-gritty of a contract, so I have no doubts that their interest was genuine, whatever you may have heard. But it was difficult for them because they had sold me for £8.5m and were being asked to pay considerably more to take me back. They had to make their own financial decisions.’