Sunday, 25 September 2011

Forgotten man Owen promised bigger United role


Forgotten man Michael Owen has been promised a bigger role at Manchester United.

And Sir Alex Ferguson has even gone as far as suggesting an unlikely England recall for his striker.

Owen has gone from European Footballer of the Year at Liverpool to bit-part player at Manchester United.

But his two recent goals in the Carling Cup stroll over Leeds showed the former Real Madrid man's predatory instincts are still intact.

And that has got Fergie thinking he could do a job for his country.

He said: “Put it this way, if you need a goal out of nothing, there’s nobody better than him in the game.

 “We treasure somebody like Danny Welbeck but let’s be honest, Michael Owen has that gift where he can appear in the box from nowhere. He’s still got it, there’s no doubt about that.”

Ferguson’s options up front are, frankly, frightening. He played Federico Macheda and Mame Biram Diouf as wingers at Leeds simply so they could get some action.

The Scot admits he has a daunting task in keeping everyone happy. However, Owen is not the sort to cause ructions behind the scenes.

Fergie added wistfully: “I know, it’s not easy but I’m very happy with Michael. He’s good about the dressing room, he’s a nice person and a good professional.

“He trains really well. He’s perfect. “It’s the same as Dimitar Berbatov, he’s just unlucky because what do you do when you’ve got somebody like Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez. What do you do?

“Although, Owen is getting to that point where you say to yourself, ‘I need to think about him more.’

“He’s a little like Javier Hernandez in terms of his movement and I’m sure he learns off him.

“He’s not got the blinding pace he had when he was younger but you always lose pace.

“The difference between him and Ryan Giggs, well Ryan and every other player, is that his balance is so good. So his loss of pace doesn’t really matter because of the way he is, he unbalances players all the time.

“That doesn’t apply to Michael but his positional sense is brilliant. His awareness around the box, making runs at the right time and getting across the defender at the right time, he’s just got that gift.”

Ferguson says a number of the players involved at Leeds are in with a shout of playing against Basel on Tuesday night.

He made a scouting mission to watch the Swiss side in action on Wednesday night, and it is fair to say he was impressed.

He revealed: “They were 4-0 up after 25 minutes. They scored with the first kick of the ball.

“Alex Frei scored a hat-trick, I’m not sure how old he is now and he played against us for Borussia Dortmund in 1997. He’s still got a goal instinct.

“Mick Phelan and I got to a lot of the games. We get a private plane, go over and get back.

“This time we were able to leave at half-time. I was back home for 10.20pm, it was great."

Ferguson also believes a win on Tuesday will put United on course for the easy qualification they crave – a double-header with Romanians Otelul Galati follows.

He said: “If we can win the home game, we’ve got the Romanians which with them losing their first game and then going to Benfica, it’ll be a hard game for them.

“You then hope that when the double-header between Basel and Benfica comes along, we can strengthen our position. If you get 10 points, you know you’re through to the next stage, particularly in that group.

“If we win our next three games, we’re through then I can utilise the squad, which would definitely help us in the Premier League.”

ends

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