LONDON, August 6 – Michael Owen insists he has no intention of giving up on his battle to become a key player at Manchester United.
Owen endured a frustrating first season with Sir Alex Ferguson’s team after spending the opening half of the campaign unable to get into the starting line-up and then suffering a serious hamstring injury in the League Cup final.
That injury against Aston Villa at Wembley was especially frustrating for the former Liverpool and Real Madrid striker as he had just scored United’s equaliser but wouldn’t play again for the rest of the season.
The arrival of Mexico striker Javier Hernandez at United during the close-season could push Owen further away from first-team action if Ferguson continues to use Wayne Rooney as a lone forward.
Yet Owen remains confident in his ability to win a starting place, making reports of a move to Championship club Bristol City look extremely far-fetched.
The 30-year-old missed United’s pre-season tour of North America as he recovered from the injury, but he showed off his predatory instincts with a goal in United’s 7-1 friendly win over an Irish League eleven in Dublin on Wednesday.
"I am loving my time at United," Owen said. "I don’t feel as though I have a point to prove. I actually look back on last year with a lot of good memories.
"I had some great moments and the only shame was I had to miss the end bit where the prizes were getting dished out.
"Out of the first 43 squads, I was involved in 42. If someone had said I would be available for 42 games last year I probably would have taken it."
Owen prefers to remember the bright spots of the campaign, including a Champions League hat-trick against Wolfsburg and an injury time winner in the derby against Manchester City.
Capping an energetic 45-minute outing with a well-taken goal against the Irish eleven means Owen should play some part in this weekend’s Community Shield encounter with Chelsea at Wembley.
Understandably Owen hopes the work being carried out on the much-maligned Wembley pitch will guarantee he doesn’t suffer another injury setback.
"They were there doing something on the pitch when I was at Wembley recently," Owen said.
"Something new has been installed which means 10% of the turf is now synthetic. Hopefully it makes it better because the Wembley pitch must have had something to do with my injury.
"I wasn’t the only injury to come out of that game. There were quite a lot of other injured players. That is the worrying bit.
"If it had just been me you could say it was a freak accident."