FORMER footballer Michael Owen has opened up on his son's degenerative eye condition on an emotional podcast episode.

The former Liverpool, Real Madrid and England forward - who attended Rector Drew Primary School in Hawarden as a child - was speaking about son James on the BBC Access All podcast.

17-year-old James, who had once hoped to follow in his father's footsteps, was diagnosed with Stargardt disease when he was eight.

It is said to be an inherited eye condition that affects the macula - the central part of the retina - and causes a reduction in vision.

The pair recently sat down together on the BBC Access All podcast to talk about his condition.

Dad Michael said: "said: "If I could give him my eyes ... I would. I would pay every cent I've got to make James see again."

Michael added that it came as a "hammer blow" when he and wife Louise were referred to an eye specialist and were later told of James's diagnosis.

He said: "As a parent you just want everything to be perfect - and he is - but of course it was a sad time."


James himself said that the disease makes his central vision 'blurry' and said that he 'struggles to see different colours'.

Michael added: "Thinking about the future - will he be able to drive? Will he be able to work? All these things run through your mind."

Michael, whose daughter Gemma rose to fame via Love Island, added: "(James is) just mentally very, very strong. He's got a great mindset. I've got four children and I'm probably the least worried about James's future."

The father and son duo are set to release their first documentary, titled 'Football is for Everyone' - available to watch on TNT Sports from January 30.

That sees them follow the visually impaired futsal England squad as they compete in the 2023 visually impaired World Cup in Birmingham.