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Why Football Owes Owen A Good Season

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Many Manchester United fans were surprised last month when news broke that Michael Owen had got a new contract for the coming 2011/12 season. Of course until that announcement it increasingly looked like the club would be having a new number 7 as not many fans believed Owen would remain at the club.

I was one of those fans who thought Owen was on his way out of the club and thought that Ashley Young (who we were heavily linked with at the time) was going to be our new number 7. 

It’s not that I wanted Owen to leave us, but just felt that Sir Alex Ferguson would open up a space for the younger forwards at the club to compete and challenge for, which would be better for the club’s long-term plans.

Owen of course despite being injury-prone over the last 5-6 seasons can never be questioned about his hunger and commitment to the cause as despite not being the player that he was in his prime, he still gives his absolute best when on the pitch.

His professionalism has never come under questioned at any stage of his career. Certainly since his anterior cruciate ligament injury, which he suffered for England against Sweden in the 2006 World Cup, he has come back to be a different player.

It could be argued he is more of a team-player these days. That’s not to suggest that during his prime for Liverpool and England that he wasn’t a team player as he was not just a goal-poacher during his time and would link up well with his team mates during those glory years.

However nowadays due to his injuries, it appears that he is revelling in being one of the senior players in the team who is happy to play in others and play in a more unselfish manner. That’s  not to say of course that he wouldn’t like to score 15-20 goals a season for us, it’s just that his style has changed and he is happy to play a more of a ‘holding’ role up top.

Our young strikers like Danny Welbeck, Federico Macheda, Mame Diouf and even last season’s shining success Javier Hernandez have all no doubt benefited (and will continue to do so) by being around Owen in our squad. There’s no doubt he will help them out and give them pointers in training to improve little aspects of their game that all the top strikers know about.

Owen’s experience is probably one of the reasons why Sir Alex handed a new one-year contract for the coming season. We all know that Owen is not going to be first-choice for us and that he will probably be more of an impact player this year if he avoids any niggling injuries this year and is likely to start in the Domestic Cup games.

So on the basis of that when you add in the fact that our younger forwards and even Wayne Rooney can continue to learn from him, there really is not much that can be lost by having Owen at us for another season.

Even if he does have an injury-hit year and goes on to makes around only 20 appearances or less this coming season, we would not have lost much anyway as he’s not going to be a first-choice for us anyway.

It would be nice for Owen to have a good season next year as after all he has put into his career really, he deserves to spend the final couple of years left on the pitch than on the sidelines.

You can only imagine how difficult it has been for him to be a ‘supporting-player’ these days when in his prime he was a ‘leading star’ who was pivotal to his team’s success. I hope he has a good and rewarding season at us, which will not allow any critics the chance to say he has not deserved to be part of our team’s success we hope this coming season. 

By @ADennehey87

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