Michael Owen wasted the last year of his career at Manchester United - and with it a place in the England squad for the European Championships.
That is the view of Neil Warnock, who believes Owen would have been part of Roy Hodgson’s Euro 2012 plans if he had played regular football this season.
Owen confirmed today he will be leaving Old Trafford this summer after a three-year spell in which only 18 of his 52 appearances came in the starting side.
England will travel to Poland and Ukraine this summer with four strikers - Jermain Defoe, Darren Welbeck, Andy Carroll and Wayne Rooney, who is suspended for the first two matches.
Warnock told Press Association Sport: “I think the strikers are a little bit short and a bit thin, with Rooney being suspended. I am sad Michael Owen has wasted a season.
“It is great to play for Manchester United and all the trimmings (that come with it).
“But I would have loved him to have a season playing for a mid-table Premier League team because I don’t see anyone better than Michael Owen in the European Championships squad.
“The only way he could have been picked would have been by playing.
“I think it is a waste he is not up for selection because at Manchester United he is way down the pecking order. I wish he’d have played, I am sure he probably thinks the same.
“I think some people are England players.
“Some people never rise to being an England player, Michael Owen has always played well for England.
“Even when he was having bad spells in the league form, he always rose to the challenge and you always saw goals in him.
“You look at the strikers that have been picked and I don’t see a Michael Owen in there.”
Owen scored 40 goals in 89 games during a decade playing international football for England, but his last appearance came over four years ago against France.
Warnock would not have taken Carroll, who struggled so badly for form all season, but he was pleased to see Arsenal youngster Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain win a call-up.
The pressure will be on Carroll, Defoe and Welbeck to score the goals that keep England in contention for when Rooney returns from suspension.
“I don’t think Andy had a particularly good season. He possibly wouldn’t have been in my selection,” Warnock said.
“Defoe and Welbeck and Carroll have really got to get the results in those first two games and help Roy get past that and get Rooney back in because Rooney is world class.
“I was really pleased that Chamberlain got picked because it is worth having a loose cannon like him, someone you can put on and excite.
“He does things, he is full of energy and I think you need something like that around the place.”
Warnock’s own focus is on strengthening his Leeds squad ahead of next season but he will have a keen eye on the forthcoming play-offs.
Two of his former clubs, Sheffield United and Huddersfield, go head-to-head for a place in the Championship.
On Saturday, West Ham tackle Blackpool at Wembley with both clubs aiming for a return to the Barclays Premier League.
“West Ham are big favourites this weekend. It is a game between the haves and have-nots,” Warnock said.
“West Ham have got the biggest wage bill, the biggest squad and they have already beaten Blackpool twice by four goals.
“There is a lot of pressure on West Ham this weekend. Most people would have tipped them to win the league. They will have been disappointed not to have gone straight up.”