Owen set to return as talks over future loom
Saturday 23 August 2008
Michael Owen, having recovered from a dose of the mumps and a strained calf, will be on Newcastle United's bench for the visit of Bolton Wanderers today, his manager, Kevin Keegan, confirmed yesterday. And Owen's longer-term future at St James' Park will be on the agenda next Wednesday when Keegan sees his superiors for a meeting that will encompass transfers and contracts as Newcastle seek to build on Sunday's impressive draw at Old Trafford.
Keegan's tone has changed markedly in the past week and there was no exasperation in his mention of imminent talks with the club's owner, Mike Ashley, and the chairman, Derek Llambias. But pinning down Owen's contractual status is a priority.
Keegan said he was "fairly relaxed" about the situation. "But I will know more when we sit down next Wednesday. I have not been party to these talks, meaning I have not been in the room, but I have been informed and don't see any reason why all these players – whose contracts have got to certain stages – why we can't secure all those players [including James Milner and Steve Harper]," he added.
Keegan denied he was concerned that Owen has been allowed to go into the final year of his contract, thereby making him free to talk to other clubs in January, but he said he wanted the issue resolved soon.
"I can honestly say if it comes to January then the chances are he won't be [staying], but I don't think it will go to January. I am not completely in the loop but I know a lot of what has gone on and we will have a better idea then."
Regarding Owen's potential return to the England team, should the striker come through unscathed in the next week, Keegan said: "If he is playing for Newcastle United, and he is fit, then they are entitled to call him. Now, would I be entirely happy about it? I suppose from a selfish point of view, you would say it is a lot of games very quickly. But if he is fit and gets called up, we certainly will not pull him out."
Latest in Sport
Think before you ink: Manchester United fan gets Sir Alex Ferguson tattoo - and will regret it for the rest of his life
Mario Balotelli: Staff at arson-hit Manchester Dogs' Home convinced Liverpool striker is behind five-figure donation
Borussia Dortmund vs Arsenal: Mesut Ozil given the worst rating possible by German newspaper Bild after poor performance
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Paul Scholes column: Arsenal's Mesut Ozil is too good for Arsene Wenger to waste on the left wing
- 1 Mario Balotelli: Staff at arson-hit Manchester Dogs' Home convinced Liverpool striker is behind five-figure donation
- 2 Scottish independence live: Scotland gives a clear 'No' in historic referendum - as it happened
- 3 iOS 8 is full of shiny new features - but it's terrible news for app developers
- 4 Friends 20th anniversary: Six things we wouldn't have without influential comedy series
- 5 Scottish independence: Tory revolt against 'devo max' grows as Rail Minister Claire Perry joins
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Scottish independence: The Queen breaks silence on referendum debate – as think tank warns of £14bn black hole if Scotland votes Yes
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'