Michael Owen hopes to be playing for Stoke 'as soon as possible'


Former Liverpool and Manchester United striker Michael Owen hopes to be on the field “as soon as possible” after starting training with Stoke.

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

A deal was announced on Tuesday and his registration, after initial confusion over whether he had been included in the club's 25-man squad, was ratified by the Premier League the following day.

Owen has been working on his fitness privately over the summer but is not sure if he will be match-ready for Manchester City's visit to the Britannia Stadium on September 15.

The 32-year-old told Stoke City Player: "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."

Owen has played in some of the world's great arenas during his illustrious career with Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle, Manchester United and England.

Now it is the prospect of making his first Potters appearance at Stoke's famously atmospheric ground that excites him.

He said: "If you speak to any football fans or players around the country, when you talk about the best atmospheres you'd have to say the Britannia Stadium is up there.

"Obviously, they don't get 70,000 here, but it's full every week and pound-for-pound is definitely one of the noisiest in the country.

"I can only speak for when I've played here, but it's always been like that. That's certainly part of the challenge for me here and something I'm looking forward to."

Yet despite his reputation and career statistics - 259 goals in 557 senior appearances - he accepts he will need to work hard to win a place.

He said: "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."