Michael Owen accepts hard work lies ahead in bid to win place in Stoke side

 

Michael Owen accepts he may have to work hard to win a place in the Stoke side.

The former England striker this week signed for the Potters having been available as a free agent following his release by Manchester United at the end of last season.

The 32-year-old endured three injury-blighted years at Old Trafford and now feels he has to prove himself at the Britannia Stadium despite his experiences with United and previously with Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle and England.

Owen told Stoke City Player: "There are many strikers at the club, I'm not expecting it to be an easy ride.

"I'll have to work, obviously, to play any part. I'm prepared to do that.

"There are a lot of top players at the club, so I'm hopefully going to fit in well with the squad and have a good season."

Owen was strongly linked with Stoke throughout the summer and more recently with former club Liverpool, boyhood team Everton and Sunderland.

His move to Stoke was announced on Tuesday and was ratified by the Premier League, after confusion over whether he had been included in the club's 25-man squad for the competition, the following day.

Owen first held talks with Potters boss Tony Pulis earlier in the summer and is now keen to start working under him.

Owen said: "I met the manager two or three months ago. We were singing from the same hymn sheet in many ways.

"It is important to have a healthy respect for your manager and understand what he wants and different things. I feel as if I'll get that here with Tony Pulis.

"We had a good chat and it's just a shame it took a few months after that before I signed.

"But anyway, we're here now and I'm looking forward to it."

Stoke are next in action when champions Manchester City visit the Britannia Stadium in the Barclays Premier League on September 15.

Owen has worked on his fitness privately but is unsure he will be match-sharp by then.

He said: "I know how I feel but in many ways I'm unsure in terms of exactly what stage I'm at compared to the rest of the squad.

"They've had a long pre-season, so it might turn out when I do a few tests that I'm quite a bit behind or it might be that I'm further forward than I thought - I just don't know.

"I'll have some tests over the next few days and gauge where I am, and hopefully I'll be out there as soon as possible."

Stoke are now a well-established Premier League team in their fifth season in the top flight.

Owen said: "Looking from outside, Stoke have done particularly well since the introduction to the Premier League, regularly coming mid-table, give or take a few places.

"I think everyone's objectives at the start of the season - unless you are Man Utd, Chelsea etc - is to get 40 points as soon as you can and to secure your status, and then for a club on the up like this, to try to aim as high as possible."

PA

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