STILL BUSY


It’s been almost 9 months since Michael Owen made his retirement from playing professional football as he received a standing ovation when playing with Stoke City and even though is not out on the playing grounds, the former English player is still active on the media and the world of football around of him.

At the beginning of the Premier League season Owen stated that Arsenal would finish the current campaign at the 5th spot but after seeing the successful season Arsene Wenger’s side is going through, they are one of the top candidates on claiming the title.

Michael Owen’s prediction might not be top notch but he also took his time to speak about the deadline day of the transfer window as he stated that it is usually filled with madness and exhilaration which are some of the reasons why he enjoys it.

Personally, I love it and I am as absorbed as anyone by the hype. If it is ‘manufactured’ for a TV audience it is entirely by accident and due to the clubs themselves who, for their own reasons, decide to wait until the last minute of the last day to pursue their targets. If the clubs conducted their business in a less frenzied way we could all congratulate them on their organisation but it would not be so much fun.

‘’I speak from experience. I enjoyed the full glamour of deadline day when I signed for Stoke in September 2012. It was approaching 4pm, the window about to close, and I was sitting in my car at a service station on the M6, waiting for the call to head to the training ground to complete the formalities of a free transfer’’.

‘’Technically, I could have joined a club at any time because I was not under contract but the squad submissions needed to be sent to the Premier League so I was caught up in the mania’’. Owen stated.


OWEN BELIEVES


Even the diehard Manchester United fans would not have been backing them to retain their Premier League title at this point of time, but, there is one man who still believes that the Red Devils are in the title race. That man is none other than Michael Owen who himself was a part of Manchester United a couple of years ago.

Manchester United has so far played 20 matches in the ongoing Barclays Premier League out of which they have won 10, have lost 6 and have shared points on 4 occasions. Their points tally reads only 34 at the moment.

Arsenal FC which is at the top of the League points table has got 11 points more than the Red Devils.
Owen was in the studio of a television channel the other day to analyse the FA Cup matches. When he was asked if he thinks that Manchester United has any chance of winning the Premier League title this season, he said, “Yes, I think so. They are still in the contention.”

“Before the start of the season if you had asked me which two teams are the top favourites to achieve glory, I would have said Chelsea and Manchester United. And, my thinking is still the same.”

When asked which of his goals is the most memorable for him, the 34 years old former England international said, “The second goal that I had scored playing for Liverpool in the FA Cup final against Arsenal in 2001 is my favourite because that had helped us win the title.”

Liverpool had got better of the Gunners by a close margin of 2-1 in that final match and it was Owen who had found the net for them on both the occasions.


Michael Owen has no regrets


Former England striker Michael Owen has revealed that he came close to joining Manchester United when he was just 12 years old but he is still unsure about the comments made by Sir Alex Ferguson in his recent autobiography that he would have turned out to be a better player had he joined them earlier.

According to Owen he was 12 years old, sitting in Ferguson’s office at Old Trafford and the legendary Scotsman looked straight into his eyes and asked him if he wanted to play for Manchester United. Owen stated that the answer was an emphatic no because his heart was set on Liverpool but he did admit he was flattered to see Sir Alex remember the event still and writing about it in his autobiography.

In his book Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography, the Scotsman stated that had Michael Owen joined the club when he was 12 years old, he would undoubtedly have become one of the greatest strikers of all time. He went on to add that the lack of rest as well technical development in those early years at Liverpool hindered his progress.

Owen also revealed that merely a week before that meeting with Sir Alex, he was with then Arsenal manager George Graham who asked him that same question, as did Chelsea boss Glenn Hoddle. He mentioned that he was with Liverpool at that time and that he was on a fact finding tour and it was easy to see what they thought of him.

Owen did, however, play for Sir Alex Ferguson and Manchester United when he was snapped up as a free transfer in the summer of 2009 and although injuries limited his time at the club, Michael Owen admits that he immensely enjoyed his time at the club and winning the Premier League was a great achievement.


Liverpool not considering Suarez sale


Premier League giants Liverpool have insisted that star striker Luis Suarez is not for sale at any price and manager Brendan Rodgers has stated that if they were to sell the Uruguayan striker, it would take a price tag close to the £ 100 million being touted for Gareth Bale to get the club to think about selling their prized asset.

Real Madrid, who were thought to be interested in the services of the player during the summer have turned their attention on Tottenham Hotspur man Gareth Bale instead. And Rodgers has argued that if Bale is valued at a whopping £ 100 million, then Suarez, who scored 23 goals in the Premier League last season, two more than the Welshman, should have a value far greater than the £ 40 million and £ 1 that Arsenal have offered for his services.

Various reports have suggested Luis Suarez is considering handing in a transfer request to Liverpool as well as contemplating legal action in order to push through a move but the Northern Irishman Rodgers remained steadfast when he stated that it was very simple, Suarez is a top player and the club has no desire to sell their prized asset.

He went on to state that throughout the world, every player has a value but one has to look at the market and look at the sum offered for Suarez when people are talking about a nine figure sum for Gareth Bale.
Rodgers added that Bale and Suarez were arguably the two best players in the Premier League last term and there is no way Bale can be valued at more than 100% from Suarez. Regardless, every player has a price but Liverpool are not considering cashing in on the player unless the right offer that meets their valuation is made.


OWEN RUES INJURIES


Michael Owen has said that he would have broken Bobby Charlton’s record of scoring the most no. of goals for England if he had not been hit by several injuries during his career.

Owen finished his international career with 40 goals which is 9 less than Charlton’s tally of goals.
Owen retired from professional football at the end of the last season.

Talking to the reporters about the ups and downs of his career, Owen said, “I discovered the hamstring problem pretty early in my career. I was just 19 years of age at that time and I had to make some adjustments in my game after that.”

“That injury kept troubling me time and again and eventually shortened my international career. If I had not picked up that injury so early in my career, I might have ended up as England’s leading goal scorer.”

Owen had burst onto the scene in the 1998 world cup. He was lightening quick then. His speed didn’t remain the same for too long though. The hamstring injury cut down his speed, but, Owen didn’t let that injury end his career. He adjusted his game accordingly and ended up playing for quite a few big clubs around the world including Liverpool, Manchester United and Real Madrid.
When asked for which club he enjoyed playing the most, Owen said, “I enjoyed playing for all the clubs, but, those days at Liverpool were just terrific. I was at my peak at that time and won quite a few trophies there. That was probably the best period of my career.”

Owen featured for Liverpool in 216 games and found the net 118 times for them. These numbers suggest how successful his Liverpool career was. He left Liverpool in 2004 to join Real Madrid.


PULIS UNDER PRESSURE


The Stoke City manager Tony Pulis is under a lot of pressure to deliver the results at the Britannia stadium.

He has spent a lot of money in the last few transfer windows, but the team has been unable to make any progress in the league positions. In fact, they have regressed in the last few years since qualifying for the Europa league. The manager is hoping that the visit of West Brom to the Britannia stadium will change the fortunes of his team. Stoke have just one win in the last 10 league matches.

As a result of this poor run of form, they have slipped into the bottom of the table. There remains a slight chance of relegation due to the fact that the team has only 34 points on the board. However, it needs a highly improbable combination of results in order to relegate Stoke City this season. Pulis has said that the team has been unable to get any breaks this season. One of the major problems for the club this season has been scoring goals. They have been able to maintain their place near the top of the table due to the good defending from the likes of Ryan Shawcross and Robert Huth.

"We just haven't had the breaks. We seem either to shoot ourselves in the foot or things happen during the game that on another day could go for you. We played at West Ham earlier in the season, Steven Nzonzi hit the underside of the bar and it came out; on Sunday at Newcastle, (Yohan) Cabaye hits the underside of the bar and it goes in. There's such fine dividing lines between getting results and not getting results," said Pulis. The team have important matches against Manchester United and QPR in the run-in.


OWEN STAYING WITH STOKE


The manager of Stoke City, Tony Pulis, has said that he wants Michael Owen to be with his team till the end of the ongoing season.

Owen had joined Stoke City in September last year after the competition of his contract with Manchester United, but, he hasn’t spent much time on the field so far. He has featured for the Potters in only four matches in the ongoing season and he has not been able to score any goal for Stoke so far.

According to a few reports, the Australian A League club, Perth Glory is looking to sign Owen and the English striker is also interested in joining that club. But, Pulis has completely dismissed those reports and has made it clear that his club will not put Owen on sale during the mid season transfer window.

When asked about Owen being linked to Perth Glory, Pulis said, “I have no idea where these kinds of reports come from. I recently read somewhere that Danny Welbeck has been put on sale by Manchester United. You ask Sir Alex Ferguson about his thoughts on that. The rumours will always be there. As a manager, you got to deal with that.”

“Owen’s contract with us is for the whole of this season. He hasn’t told us that he wants to leave. We are not interested in putting him on sale. It means that he is going to be with us till the end of the ongoing season.”

“If a player is not getting that many playing opportunities, it doesn’t mean that he is not in the future plans of the manager. Owen is an experienced player and he is going to play a vital role for us in the second half of the season.”


OWEN RECOVERS


The striker of Stoke City, Michael Owen, has said that he has recovered from his hamstring injury and he might be given his first starting opportunity of the season in the next match against Newcastle United which is going to be played at the Britannia Stadium on Wednesday.

Owen joined Stoke City in September this year, but, he hasn’t yet started any match for Stoke. He has featured for Stoke in four matches so far, but, in all those matches, he came to play as substitute. He is yet to score a goal in the current season. He had been suffering from hamstring strain since the last few days.

After Stoke City’s victory over Fulham in the Premier League match played on Saturday, Owen went through a fitness test. Talking to the reporters after the fitness test, Owen said, “The fitness test was quite good. I didn’t feel the pain while running out there which indicates that I have recovered now. I think I am ready to make a comeback in the next match against Newcastle.”

When asked if he thinks he would be given his first starting opportunity against Newcastle, Owen said, “Yes, I think so. I hadn’t been given the starting chances in the previous matches because my fitness wasn’t quite good. But, I have worked hard in the last few days and my fitness has improved considerably. So, I think I am not too far behind from getting my first starting opportunity. I might get it against Newcastle.”

On the other hand, the manager of Stoke City, Tony Pulis, has given a slightly different statement. When asked about Owen’s injury, Pulis said, “Owen has recovered pretty fast, but, he is still not 100% fit. There is very little possibility that he would get fit before the match against Newcastle, but, he would definitely get fit before the match against West Bromwich Albion.”


OWEN REGAINING HIS FORM


The manager of Stoke City, Tony Pulis, has said that Michael Owen is slowly regaining his form and he is not too far from getting a starting opportunity. Owen has signed for Stoke City this summer. He has joined the club on a short contract of 1 year.

Owen made his debut for Stoke a few days back in a Premier League match against the defending Champion Manchester City. He came to play as substitute in that match. The Stoke team performed pretty well in that match and didn’t let Manchester City run away with the three points. There was one goal scored by each side and the scorecard was saying 1-1 when the final whistle was blown by the referee.

Owen hasn’t yet got the opportunity to start any match for Stoke in the ongoing season. Stoke City has to play against Chelsea on Saturday. Chelsea is currently at no. 1 in the Premier League points table. Roberto De Matteo’s team hasn’t lost even a single game in the competition so far. So, that is going to be a tough match for stoke.

When asked whether Owen will be included in the first XI for the match against Chelsea, Pulis said, “Owen is all right at the moment and he is looking in good touch in the training sessions. But, there is not much possibility of him being included in the starting line up against Chelsea.”

“The guys who started the match against Manchester City had performed decently and we don’t want to make too many changes in that starting line up for the match against Chelsea. So, Owen might have to sit on the bench again, but, he will get starting chances at some point of time.”

When asked about the brilliant form of Chelsea in the current season, Pulis said, “Chelsea is a very strong team and they have been in sensational form in the current season. It is going to be a big test for us. We will have to play out of our skins to beat them on their home ground.”


OWEN CONSIDERING RETIREMENT


Michael Owen has said that if he is not able to find a Premier League club in the near future, he might think about retirement. Owen’s contract with Manchester United finished at the end of the last season. Manchester United didn’t extend his contract. So, Owen is without a contract at the moment. He has been searching a new club since the last two months.

Owen has made it clear that he is looking for a Premier League Club and he would not accept the offer of Championship clubs. But, the Premier League clubs are not showing much interest in Owen. As per Owen, he hasn’t had any disrespect in his heart for the Championship teams, but, he doesn’t want to play at the lower level. He said that he still has the ability to perform at the top level. He is 32 years of age at the moment and he can still contribute for the top teams.

Owen played for Manchester United for three years. His first match for Manchester United was against a Malaysian eleven. That was a pre season friendly match. He scored a goal in his very first match for Manchester United. In the 2009-10 season, he scored a hat-trick in a Champions League match against Wolfsburg. He performed pretty well in his first two seasons for Manchester United. But, in the last season, he had to miss a lot of matches due to a serious thigh injury. However, he returned back in the team and played some matches in the later part of the season.

Meanwhile, some experts have criticized Owen for saying that he doesn’t want to play for the Championship clubs. According to the experts, some great players are playing for the Championship clubs and Owen shouldn’t have given such type of statement.


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