Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Michael Owen 'couldn't have asked for any more' from final game before retirement

The Stoke striker came on as a late substitute against Southampton

Michael Owen's career may have ended with an uninspiring draw at Southampton but the Stoke striker insists he could not have asked for much more from his final match before retirement.

After playing for Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle and Manchester United, the 33-year-old announced in March he would hang up his boots after just one season in the Potteries.

Owen's illustrious career ended in yesterday's 1-1 draw at Southampton, where he managed to touch the ball just three times during his 16 minutes on the pitch.

However, the former England striker insists there was no better way to go, with all four sides of a sold-out St Mary's giving him a standing ovation.

"I couldn't have asked for any more, really," Owen said.

"The Stoke supporters were fantastic, considering I've not had much of an influence on the team for the season I've been here.

"But they sang my name all game and I am really privileged to have the send-off. And the home fans as well, that was particularly special.

"So, it was a great day all round and pleased that we shared the spoils as well.

"Everyone's been coming up to me saying so many nice things and that they've enjoyed watching me play over the years.

"I won't name his name but even one of the Southampton players was saying that he used to watch my Soccer Skills video, so that made me feel a bit old.

"But it's nice that I've brought some pleasure to a lot of people and it's certainly been a pleasure playing myself. I've really enjoyed it and time to move on, as they say."

Owen's appearance was only his eighth for Stoke, with his solitary start coming at Crystal Palace in the FA Cup. Despite that lack of football, the striker was full of praise for the club.

"It's been a great, great experience being at Stoke for a season," Owen said.

"They're a very good club, very good owners and it's a good place to be.

"That's about the fifth season they've been in the Premier League now. Hopefully, they can kick on and start getting into the top half. That will probably be the next step.

"But I'm certainly pleased to have joined them and played a season with them and I wish them all the best now."

The draw saw Stoke finish the season in 13th, a place better off than hosts Southampton.

Teenage left-back Luke Shaw has been one of Saints' stand-out players this campaign and has been heavily linked with a move away.

Chelsea have been mentioned as a potential suitor and, asked if there was any truth in the speculation, Saints boss Mauricio Pochettino implied it was the west Londoners that should be concerned.

"Perhaps we will go and get some Chelsea players ourselves," he said.

"I think that [executive chairman] Nicola Cortese staying is the best possible news for next season.

"That is very good for the squad, for the whole club. We will talk about the summer and the budgets with Nicola."