Nice little piece on Michael Owen

MAN UNITED STRIKER Michael Owen has signed a new one year contract to stay at the club for another season. The 31-year-old has expressed his desire to prolong his career at Old Trafford after his deal was set to expire. But is it the right move for the ex-Liverpool centre-forward?

The former England international made just 17 appearances in the 2010/2011 season, managing to score a total of five goals. He has been kept on the sidelines behind the likes of Wayne Rooney, Javier Hernandez and Dimitar Berbatov.

But after Berbatov did not even make it on the bench against Barcelona in the Champions League Final, there are doubts about whether he will stay with the Red Devils, meaning a possible chance for Owen to play a bigger role at the club in the new campaign.

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson said: ‘Michael has proved to be a top footballer. It is unfortunate he did not get more opportunities but the form of Hernandez put everyone in the shade and his partnership with Rooney proved invaluable.

‘I am delighted Michael is staying a further year and we will look to give him more opportunities in the new season.’

The 31-year-old could have followed the same route as his team-mates Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Edwin Van Der Sar and retired but the striker decided it was not his time. He said: ‘I am delighted to have agreed a one-year extension and I cannot wait for next season to start.

‘To play alongside so many great players, under an exceptional manager and in front of so many passionate supporters is a real inspiration.’

Perhaps Owen was right not to hang up his boots as he would not have had the recognition he deserves with the superb Paul Scholes recently announcing that he will be calling it a day. But it cannot be ignored that a final season sitting on the bench is not a good way to end a career, even at a club like Manchester United.

It is possible that he would have benefited more from moving to a club in need of a striker such as Sunderland; or even make a fine addition to Tottenham’s firing squad. It is these sort of clubs that Owen could go out with a bigger impact than what he will staying at Old Trafford.

From United’s point of view however, he is someone with experience who can come on and bag a match-winning goal out of nothing. This is why the club were right to keep him for another year.

And if Owen is happy enough to sit on the bench, why should he move to a lesser club just so he can get a few starts? Although it would be nice for football fans to see the former England star to play regularly and at his best as his career winds down to an end.

Owen has enjoyed spells at Real Madrid and Newcastle after leaving Anfield in 2004 before he signed for United on a free transfer in summer 2009 and also made 89 appearances for England.


James Harris

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