Alex Ferguson advises patience for Michael Owen

Sir Alex Ferguson has urged Michael Owen to be patient in his quest for a starting spot at Manchester United.

Ferguson caused a major summer shock when he snapped Owen up on a free transfer.

The deal immediately started talk of the former Liverpool front man forcing his way into Fabio Capello's World Cup plans, suggestions that gathered pace only when Owen ended up top scorer on the Red Devils' Far East tour.

Since then, though, opportunities to impress have dried up.

Owen has started just one Barclays Premier League game - the defeat at Burnley - and scored one goal, in the demolition of Wigan at the DW Stadium three days later.

It seems unlikely he will play in Istanbul tonight either as United open their bid to reach a third successive Champions League final when they take on Besiktas.

"Michael hasn't been involved, and I've explained that to him," said Ferguson.

"The season hasn't really started - and because of the internationals we haven't been playing Saturday and Wednesday, as we normally would.

"So Michael doesn't really come into the equation, because we're still trying to get the blend between Wayne Rooney and Dimitar Berbatov."

With Cristiano Ronaldo sold to Real Madrid for a world record £80million, there were some doubts about Rooney's ability to fill the gap.

Such questions are no longer being asked, the England star on target once again at the weekend as United brushed aside Tottenham.

"Wayne has started well with his scoring," said Ferguson.

"We need a couple of players to get us more than 20 goals this season.

"Wayne always wants to score goals. He just needs consistency.

"He scores in bunches of sixes and sevens, then goes quiet for a few weeks. We just need that consistency of goals, like we used to get from Ruud van Nistelrooy and Andy Cole."

The win at Spurs appeared to be a signal United would prosper without Ronaldo.

Yet some continue to claim otherwise, a stance Ferguson finds difficult to understand.

"Some guy at the weekend said this was the worst United team in years," he said.

"That was a beauty. Maybe it is. Maybe we'll only win the league."

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