Michael Owen feels fit and ready to play for Stoke

 

Michael Owen has conceded he may have been better off leaving Manchester United earlier than he did, and having now joined Stoke, has hinted he is looking to finish his career with the Potters.

The Staffordshire club last week completed the signing of former England striker Owen, a free agent after his release over the summer by United, on a one-year deal.

The 32-year-old was reported to have had various potential suitors over the past few months, with there being talk at one point of a possible return to his first club Liverpool.

Owen today confirmed there had been different interested parties but would not name any of them specifically beyond Stoke, who he said he had been keen to join since speaking to Potters boss Tony Pulis earlier in the summer.

Talking at a press conference this morning, Owen said: "I spoke to the manager here a few months ago, so I knew there was a strong possibility that I would come here and I'll blame him for not making it happen so soon!

"I'm not sure why, but it just dragged on. I was eager to sign straight away.

"There were things I'm not quite sure about that meant there was a delay, but that's all in the past now, I'm here and I'm excited to start."

Owen revealed his first contact with Stoke came before he signed for United in 2009.

He played a very much bit-part, albeit often injury-affected role during his three seasons with the Red Devils and having made only four first-team appearances for them in 2011-12 - the last coming in November - he accepts he might have been better off departing Old Trafford a year earlier.

"I was on the bench a lot of the time, but then when the manager says 'you have a big role to play and we want you to stay for another year', it was great to hear that from someone like Sir Alex Ferguson," Owen said.

"In hindsight, probably with that extra year, it might have been better if I had moved in many ways."

Overall, though, Owen insists he made the right decision to sign for United and feels the same about joining Stoke.

The frontman is confident he still has plenty to offer and made reference this morning to his desire to finish his playing days on a "real high".

He said: "There were a couple of Premier League teams that showed interest, but this is a team on the up, I know the manager and a few of the players and it meant I didn't have to move my family as well.

"There were loads of things that ticked the boxes and I'm sure I've made the right decision.

"I want to perform and I want to finish my career on a real high. I'm still only 32 and I still feel as if I have a lot left in me.

"I've always scored goals no matter what team I have been in, so as long as I can stay fit and healthy, then I'm sure I can do that here at Stoke."

Owen has had a catalogue of injury problems during his career and spent most of the summer training alone.

He says he is feeling fit and ready to play, but it remains to be seen whether or not he will be handed his Stoke debut in Saturday's Barclays Premier League clash with Manchester City at the Britannia Stadium.

"I feel as if I am fit enough to take part in a game," Owen added.

Pulis was keeping an open mind on the matter, although he emphasised that he had been pleased with what Owen had demonstrated so far fitness-wise.

Asked if he felt he could use Owen straight away in a game, the manager said: "It is too early to say yet. We have got two more days."

Reflecting on the signing more generally, Pulis said: "We are very pleased to have got him.

"What we've got to do is get him as fit as we possibly can as quick as we can and hopefully he has a free run at trying to get in the team and stay in the team.

"We always wanted to do this, and Michael knew that, but we wanted to do it at the right time and not in a situation where if there were other clubs that got involved, figures would start going through the roof. We weren't going to be involved in that."

Meanwhile, Stoke have confirmed that midfielder Michael Tonge has joined npower Championship side Leeds on a three-month loan deal.

PA

VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
Homer meets Lego Marge in the 25th anniversary episode of The Simpsons, set to air on 4 May
tv
Arts & Entertainment
James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in Of Mice and Men on Broadway
theatreReview: Of Mice and Men, Longacre Theatre
Life & Style
Infant child breast-feeding with eyes closed
healthTo stop mummy having any more babies, according to scientists
News
news
Life & Style
Going down: Google's ambition to build an elevator into space isn't likely to be fulfilled any time soon
techTechnology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Arts & Entertainment
film
Sport
Vito Mannone fails to keep out Samir Nasri's late strike
sportMan City 2 Sunderland 2: Goalkeeping howler allows Man City to scrap a draw – but Premier League title is Liverpool's to lose
News
David Cameron sings a hymn during the enthronement service of The Most Rev Justin Welby as Archbishop of Canterbury, at Canterbury Cathedral last year
news
Life & Style
From long to Jong: Guy Pewsey gets the North Korean leader's look
fashionThe Independent heads to an Ealing hairdressers to try out the North Korean dictator's trademark do
Extras
indybest10 best smartphones
Arts & Entertainment
tvCreator Vince Gilligan sheds light on alternate endings
Life & Style
Google Doodle celebrates the 63rd anniversary of the Peak District National Park
tech
News
Paul Weller, aka the Modfather, performing at last year’s Isle of Wight Festival in Newport
people
Life & Style
Michael Acton Smith founded Firebox straight out of university before creating Moshi Monsters
techHe started out selling silliness with online retailer Firebox, before launching virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Latest in Sport
Sport
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit
Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics

Is sexual harassment a fact of gay life?

Westminster is awash with tales of young men being sexually harassed - but it's far from being just a problem in politics
Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith: The man behind a British success story

Moshi Monster creator Michael Acton Smith

Acton Smith launched a world of virtual creatures who took the real world by storm
Kim Jong-un's haircut: The Independent heads to Ealing to try out the dictator's do

Our journalist tries out Kim Jong-un's haircut

The North Korean embassy in London complained when M&M Hair Academy used Kim Jong-un's image in the window. Curious, Guy Pewsey heads to the hair salon and surrenders to the clippers
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A forgotten naval victory in which even Nature played a part
Vespa rides on with launch of Primavera: Iconic Italian scooter still revving up millions of sales

Vespa rides on with launch of the Primavera

The Vespa has been a style icon since the 1950s and the release this month of its latest model confirms it has lost little of its lustre
Record Store Day: Independent music shops can offer a tempting alternative to downloads

Record Store Day celebrates independent music shops

This Saturday sees a host of events around the country to champion the sellers of well-grooved wax
Taunton's policy of putting philosophy at heart of its curriculum is one of secrets of its success

Education: Secret of Taunton's success

Taunton School, in Somerset, is one of the country's leading independent schools, says Richard Garner
10 best smartphones

10 best smartphones

With a number of new smartphones on the market, we round up the best around, including some more established models
Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

Mickey Arthur: Aussie tells ECB to stick with Ashley Giles

The former Australia coach on why England must keep to Plan A, about his shock at their collapse Down Under, why he sent players home from India and the agonies of losing his job
Homelessness: Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Why is the supported lodgings lifeline under threat?

Zubairi Sentongo swapped poverty in Uganda for homelessness in Britain. But a YMCA scheme connected him with a couple offering warmth and shelter
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

When the world’s biggest shed took over Regent’s Park
The pain of IVF

The pain of IVF

As an Italian woman vows to keep the babies from someone else’s eggs, Julian Baggini ponders how the reality of childbirth is often messier than the natural ideal