Gerrard eventually left for LA Galaxy more than a decade later, but Owen believes the former Liverpool skipper was forced to depart for pastures new.
“In Steven’s case, I severely doubt whether he really wanted to go and play in the States in 2015,” Owen wrote in his new autobiography Reboot.
“I’ve heard that the club wanted him out two years prior to when he actually left.
“I’m sure he would rather have wound his career down at Liverpool, playing increasingly fewer games until he reached a point where he could be integrated into the coaching staff.
“This only happened later in his case. But instead, because he’d become so symbolic and so powerful, I believe he was forced out in the short term. Steven was bigger than the club.”
Owen has also let slip on both Alan Shearer and David Beckham in his new book, claiming he still holds some contempt towards the latter over his infamous red card at the 1998 World Cup and that his wife Victoria blamed him for the backlash her husband received.
“After that World Cup in France, few would argue that his and my paths were different,” he wrote. “I became the darling of English football for a period of time whereas he became the villain.
His devastated sweetheart and long-term partner Annie Kilner, 27, called him “gutless” after he broke the news over the phone.
She also laid into “homewrecker” Walker for romping with her pal Goodman, also 29.
The Sun reported Annie told a friend: “He’s a fool for risking his family for this. When he told me I was heartbroken. I also felt physically sick. All the air in your body leaves you.
“My world completely caved in on me in that second.
“It was the worst-case scenario, the one thing I dreaded most but knew was possible, given his track record with women.
“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Not only had he cheated on me but she was pregnant with his baby.”
The £150,000-a-week ($AU293,500) defender confessed all to model Kilner a month ago — as revealed in The Sun on Sunday.
Her friend revealed that Walker said to Annie: “I have to tell you something. There’s a girl saying she’s pregnant with my baby.
“He has not been home since, nor seen Annie to explain further. Instead Walker is living in an £8,000-a-week ($AU15,600) city centre flat.
Kilner, who has three young sons with him, has told friends their relationship is over.
They had tried to patch things up last April after reality star and model Laura Brown claimed to have slept with him numerous times after meeting in a Manchester club in September 2018.
Laura messaged Annie about the trysts after spotting a Mother’s Day message he had sent to her.
When Annie sought evidence Laura, 30 — who starred in TV’s Ex On The Beach — forwarded a selfie Walker had given her showing him at home and told how they romped in his £200,000 ($AU) Bentley.
Annie told the friend: “I was on holiday at the time. I was devastated by what had happened. I couldn’t believe he had done it.
“Lauryn and I had already met on a night out a few months before and were good friends.
“She was regularly in touch. She knew Kyle and I were going through a rough patch because of what he’d done with Laura.
“She was very sympathetic and encouraged me to confide in her. I’d thought about leaving him at the time but couldn’t do it.
“By the time I returned home from holiday, Kyle was nowhere to be seen. He’d done a runner.
“I put my feelings to one side again, as I always have done, and did my very best to rebuild things with the support of my friends. Kyle’s answer to it all was to arrange a ‘make or break’ holiday. He genuinely thought the break away was all that was needed to mend things.
“I was trying so hard to move on for our family and all along he’d done it again — with her. We were working through the first mess and were back together when it was suddenly revealed Goodman was expecting his baby.”
Walker confessed all just hours before The Sun revealed that Goodman was expecting the baby of a mystery Premier League star.
Goodman, older sister of 2015 Celebrity Big Brother housemate Chloe Goodman, later confirmed the pregnancy on Instagram, calling it her “little miracle”.
She then named Walker — who was caught texting Playboy model Carla Howe during Euro 2016 — as the dad.
Annie told the friend: “He rang me and told me over the phone. I haven’t seen him since. I’m speechless by it all but I’m strong and I’ll recover from this. I’m disappointed and deeply sad.
“My focus now is on my children. They are, and always will be, my priority. We’ll get through this and I’ll come out the other end.”
Walker met Annie when she was 16 and he was an 18-year-old at his hometown club Sheffield United.
“We met on a night out in Sheffield and hit it off straight away. It was love at first sight,” she said. “We were inseparable. It was amazing. We were both young and had the world at our feet. Kyle was doing well but was grounded. He knew what he wanted and worked hard for it.
“He hadn’t reached the heights he has today so was humble and we bounced off one another.
“As soon as we met we knew this was it. We talked about kids, becoming a family. It was everything I ever dreamt of.
“I supported him all the way. Like most WAGs I moved around the country as he signed for clubs. I was always there for him, making a home for us and doing all I could to help him reach his true potential.
“That’s all you ever really want for the person you love. You want them to do well and be the best they can.
“There were a few bumps but we worked through things and I genuinely thought it would last forever.”
At the 2018 World Cup, she was pictured cheering on the Three Lions with Rebekah Vardy, wife of striker Jamie.
Annie and Walker gave an interview to OK! magazine in which she revealed she would like to try for another baby.
“I really want a little girl. I love my boys but I’d like a daughter as I’m outnumbered in this house,” she said.
She told the friend: “In the end I was taken for granted by Kyle. I’d put up with his cheating before so he assumed I’d never leave. He wanted it all his way.”
The friend said Kilner is working on launching an acting career.
The Sun understands ex-fashion boss Goodman found out she was pregnant in November during a routine trip to hospital to have a scan on a kidney problem.
It means the baby was conceived last July. Lauryn, from Sussex, is now preparing for the April birth.
She is being supported by her sister Chloe, also due to have a baby with QPR footballer Grant Hall.
Goodman said specialists had warned her she would never be able to conceive naturally because she suffered from endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome.
“I was told I would have to have IVF. I was put into an early menopause at 27,” she said.
“It was the hardest thing to hear, being told you cannot fall pregnant in a way nature has intended.
“With that in mind, although my situation is not ideal given my medical circumstances, having a baby naturally is the biggest miracle and blessing I could’ve been given. I am thankful everyday.”
The Sun approached Kilner to comment directly but she declined.
This story first appeared in the The Sun and was republished with permission.