Michael Owen begins search for new club after being released by Manchester United


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The Independent Football

Former England striker Michael Owen will search for a new club this summer after confirmation he will be released by Manchester United.

The 32-year-old will not have his contract renewed when it expires this summer, ending an injury-ravaged three-year spell at Old Trafford.

The former Liverpool, Real Madrid and Newcastle forward made four appearances in the season just ended and has not played competitively since November.

Despite that he was back in full training before the end of the campaign after overcoming a thigh injury and is convinced he can still perform at the highest level.

Owen, who scored 17 goals in 52 United appearances, 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.

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

It had been suggested after all his injury problems Owen might have considered retirement, but he insists that has not crossed his mind and is inspired by United veterans Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs.

He said: "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."

Owen wants to continue playing at top-flight level, whether at home or abroad.

He said: "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 on to the scene as a teenager with Liverpool in 1997 and became a national hero with his performances at the following year's World Cup.

In all he has scored 40 goals in 89 appearances for England but not played internationally since 2008.

He left Anfield for Real Madrid in 2004 but returned to the Premier League with Newcastle a year later.

His time on Tyneside was also marred by injuries and he chose not to sign a new deal after the Magpies were relegated from the Premier League in 2009.

That led to speculation linking him with clubs such as Aston Villa, Everton and then top-flight Hull but he was offered a surprise chance by United.

He was unable to reignite his once glittering career and had to settle for a squad role, making just 18 starts, but manager Sir Alex Ferguson was still happy with him.

Ferguson told the club's website, www.manutd.com: "Michael is a consummate professional and was an influential figure in our dressing room.

"Unfortunately he had no luck with his injury this season.

"Michael's record of goals per game is exceptional and we wish him all the best for the future."