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Henson’s selection is ’embarrassing’ :Owen


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Former captain Michael Owen has said that Gavin Henson’s selection in the Wales squad without having earned it is “embarrassing.”

Twenty-nine-year old Henson was included in a 26 man Wales squad to face the Barbarians on the 4th of June without having played for Wales and played just two games for Toulon.

Owen who captained Wales to Six Nations Grand Slam in 2005, believes the inclusion of Henson is “embarrassing.”

“He’s being picked on what he’s done previously,” Owen told BBC Radio 5 Live.

Henson last played for Wales in the 2009 Six Nations against Ireland in Cardiff but wants to play for Wales at the Rugby world cup in September and October.

Wales coach Warren Gatland admitted that including Henson was a risk but added that he and attack coach Rob Howley feel that Henson’s flair has been missing in the centre position.

However Henson’s former team mate Owen believes that he should not have been included in the Wales squad.

“It’s a privilege to play for your national team. I think you’ve really got to earn that privilege and I just question whether Gavin has earned it in this instance,” added Owen.

“Warren Gatland and the coaches at Wales obviously rate Gavin very highly as a player.”

“He’s done some fantastic things throughout his career.

“But for me it sends the wrong message to the players in Wales who are striving, day in day out, week in week out, to try and get better and try and perform to get the opportunity to play for their country.

“I don’t think it will cause too much resentment, for me it sends out the wrong message.

“For people looking in on Welsh rugby I think it’s slightly embarrassing because we’re fawning over a player who, at the moment, doesn’t merit that sort of treatment.”

Owen does however admit that time is running out for Henson.

“It’s certainly getting to that stage with Gavin,” said Owen. “I think it’s been like that over the last period of time with his time out of the game.

“He went to Saracens and it didn’t really work out there and he’s had another opportunity at Toulon and he’s had bad headlines there.”

“Everyone says about the depth in the Welsh squad, but there are good young players there.”

Owen believes that other players deserve their place in the squad ahead of Henson on the form that Henson has shown.

“One minute we’re saying about someone not being ready and they get the opportunity and show that they are good enough,” said Owen.

“It’s just a case of believing in people and giving people the opportunity.

“To get that opportunity you’ve got to earn it. And that’s the only thing for me about Gavin’s selection.

“If he played for Toulon until the end of the season [and] he had five, six or seven really good games and he was showing that he’s got the appetite and the desire to play for Wales then they should pick him.

“But for me at the minute he’s being rewarded without having earned that shirt and that privilege of playing for his country.”

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