Michael Owen will not be offered new contract by Manchester United

 

Former England striker Michael Owen has no intention of retiring following his release by Manchester United.

Owen has announced that United will not be offering him a new contract when his current deal expires this summer.

That might have led to speculation that the 32-year-old could quit the game after three injury-ravaged years at Old Trafford but he intends to play on.

Owen told Sky Sports News: "At 32, I definitely owe it to myself to have two or three years and play a bit more - but for somebody else."

The former Liverpool prodigy joined United on a free transfer from Newcastle in 2009 but was unable to reignite his once glittering career due to a succession of injuries.

He made just four appearances in the season just ended and has not played competitively since November due to a thigh injury.

The highlight of his time at United was his injury-time winner in a pulsating 4-3 derby victory over Manchester City in September 2009, a goal which endeared him to fans previously sceptical because of his Liverpool connections.

He also struck in the 2010 Carling Cup final win over Aston Villa but was forced off injured later in that game.

That ended any chances of an international recall in time for that summer's World Cup and his England career has remained stalled on 40 goals in 89 appearances since 2008.

Yet having seen Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs continue to perform for United at the ages of 37 and 38 respectively, he feels compelled to play on.

He said: "I am only 32. I might look a bit older than that but looking at the likes of Scholesy and Giggsy, it doesn't half fill you with a lot of motivation and confidence.

"They are playing into their mid-to-late thirties and I still feel as if I am reasonably young.

"When I wake up my body feels good even though I have had a few injuries."

Owen insists he only wants to play on at top-flight level, whether at home or abroad.

He said: "I don't think the Championship would be an option if I am totally honest.

"I don't feel I have lost the ability to score goals or play at a high level.

"I have been playing and training with top players all my life and that was one of the attractions in going to Man Utd.

"We will wait to see where that is. If it is not the Premier League then I may look farther afield.

"I don't think I will be dropping into the Championship."

Owen burst onto the scene as a precocious teenager with Liverpool in 1997 and became a national hero with his performances at the following year's World Cup.

He left Anfield for Real Madrid in an £8million deal in 2004 but returned to the Premier League a year later.

Liverpool were interested in re-signing him but balked at Real's £16million valuation and he joined Newcastle instead.

His spell on Tyneside was also marred by injury and came to an end after the club's relegation from the Premier League, when he turned down a new contract.

He was linked with clubs such as Aston Villa, Everton and Hull before being offered a surprise opportunity by United.

He scored 17 goals in 52 appearances for Sir Alex Ferguson's men but started only 18 games after accepting a role as a squad player.

United have now decided not to continue with that arrangement.

Announcing the news, Owen tweeted: "The Manager informed me after our testimonial match on Tuesday that the club would not be offering me a new contract.

"I have loved every minute of the 3 years I have spent at such a fantastic club.

"I would like to thank the players, staff and fans for their support and wish them well for the future.

"I now plan to have a short holiday during which I will contemplate my next move."

A statement on the United website read: "Manchester United thanks Michael for his contribution and wishes him well for the future."

PA

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