England striker Michael Owen has said he was more nervous performing on The Masked Singer than taking a penalty for England in the World Cup.
Owen, 42, was unmasked as the character Doughnuts during a double elimination on the show on Saturday night, which also saw actress Jaime Winstone revealed as Firework.
The football star also said he thinks he is the “worst singer” to have ever competed on the programme but feels you need someone that does not take themselves too seriously on the show.
Speaking after the elimination, he said: “You can put one person or one billion people in front of me on a football pitch, I would be absolutely fine.
“But put yourself in an arena where you just know that you’re absolutely awful at something and then go out and do it, you just feel like lambs to the slaughter. I was so nervous.”
Owen, who played for England in the 1998, 2002 and 2006 World Cups, added: “I’ve done something that a lot of people will think is nerve-wracking.
“Like taking a penalty for England in the World Cup, I mean it can literally make or break your career if you miss a penalty for England, you will forever be tarnished with that brush in such an important stage and obviously a massive thing for your own personal career.
“However, when you go up there and do something that you just simply know you cannot do in front of a live audience but then you know it’s in front of double figure millions probably as well. I can’t tell you how much you just literally go numb.”
The former Liverpool, Real Madrid and England star added that he thinks he is the “worst singer” to have ever gone on the show.
“I amused myself by how bad a voice I’ve got but then how much the crowd took to the character and how I was playing to the character,” he added.
“It made it better that I was a rubbish singer, I think. Everyone can say on that show, you need someone that’s going to laugh at themselves and not take themselves too seriously.
“So I think my character was different to everyone else’s because of that.”
Owen admitted that he had been initially sceptical about the show and felt “terrified” before every performance but said that the experience had been “so much fun”.
He added: “The competitive nature of you kicks in and then after every show I wanted to get through to the next round.
“So initially, it was like ‘What am I doing?’ but then after the first one, it was a right laugh.”
Owen, who now features as a sports pundit and commentator, revealed he had been approached by other shows before but did not think they were suited to him or their filming schedule did not work with his other commitments.
The father of four also said his children convinced him to consider the show and were “supportive and excited” for him to do it.
He said he feels that taking part in the programme might have changed the public’s perception of him, adding: “I was pigeonholed into this type of person, it’s quite boring, it’s quite methodical, it’s quite whiter than white, and I just think that it’s probably stuck with me all my life.
“So it’s probably changed a few people’s opinions of me I think, because I can have a laugh with the best of them.”