During the first few months of the 2002/03 UK football season, the consistent quality playing of Liverpool stunned even die-hard football fans as the Reds soared to top position of the Premiership with 30 points from 12 games, seven points ahead of London's hot team, Arsenal. Football success is all about getting that ball into the net and Liverpool just happen to have a goal-scoring tornado in their powerful forward lineup. His name is Michael Owen and during the past five years he has scored almost 150 goals in Liverpool and England matches. Owen notches up footballing records as easily as eating his breakfast. He is the youngest player this century to have represented England in international matches and already he has scored more goals for his national team than any other Liverpool player. His five-year contract with the Reds at a reported A20,000 (HK$249,580) a week made him the richest teenager in world football, but Owen shuns the media publicity that other football stars take in their stride. He surprisingly remains the modest, shy lad who still hangs out with the friends he made at school. He prefers spending his nights off at home watching television to hanging around in trendy night clubs and bars waiting to be spotted by photographers. He has signed lucrative deals with sports firms, but he is determined that his off-the-pitch activities will always be low key and will not get in the way of playing football. Owen wants to concentrate on his game, not on selling expensive sports gear or becoming a here-today-gone-tomorrow fashion icon. Michael James Owen was born on December 14, 1979 near the town of Chester on the English-Welsh border. He began kicking a football around almost as soon as he could walk and by the age of seven he was the star player in the local under-10 team where he scored 34 goals in his first official season. He was the youngest player in the team, but he could outplay the rest of the boys who were all a foot taller and three years older than him. News of Owen's ability quickly spread and talent scouts from top Football League clubs were soon coming to his matches to keep an eye on him. By the time he was eight, Michael was playing for the Deeside Primary Schools team and in his first two seasons he scored an incredible 97 goals. Every big club in England had now heard of young Owen and he got offers to train with the biggest and the best. When it came to decision time, Owen chose to train with the mighty Liverpool. He was soon offered a place at the Football Association's national school where the cream of England's young players are given top football training to back up their academic studies. Owen shone in England's under-15 and under-16 teams and he left school with an excellent set of GCSE results under his arm as well as the record of having scored more goals than any other previous pupil. He then took up a professional career with Liverpool and the rest is footballing history. He burst onto the scene in the 1996/97 season and has not looked back since. Owen is now a world-class football player and a wonderful role model for young sportsmen all over the world. Can you answer these questions about Michael Owen? 1. Owen plays for which UK football team? 2. What is the team's nickname? 3. What is Owen's attitude towards being famous? 4. Where and when was he born? 5. How many goals did he score in his first season as a boy player with the local team? 6. Why was this an outstanding achievement? 7. Which secondary school did Owen attend? 8. What sort of academic success did he achieve here? 9. What football record did he break at school? 10. In which season did Owen make his professional debut? Answers: 1. Owen plays for Liverpool. 2. The Reds. 3. He shuns publicity. 4. He was born near Chester in 1979. 5. 34. 6. He was the youngest player in the team. 7. The Football Association's training school. 8. He achieved excellent GCSE grades. 9. He scored more goals than any previous pupil. 10. He made his debut with Liverpool in the 1996/97 season.