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Why If Owen Wants To ‘Play On’ Into His Mid-30’s, He Really Should Leave United

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When you’re an injury-prone striker on the fringes of the squad at any top club, the last thing that you want is to hobble off injured early on when you finally are chosen to start in a big match. After all when that happens, it only makes you more of a ‘crock’ right?

Well last month of course, Michael Owen sadly hobbled off with a thigh problem after 11 minutes of Manchester United’s Champions League win over Otelul Galati at Old Trafford. It was a dreadful bit of bad luck for the former England striker who had picked up the injury making a late dash to the near post which actually set up Antonio Valencia’s three minutes prior to being substituted.

In a way you have to feel sorry for Owen, who as a youngster had everything a modern striker needs to succeed in the game. He had lighting speed, was a great finisher and was actually rather good at setting up goals as well, which at the time he never got any credit for. Nowadays due to a number of hamstring injuries his pace has gone and his game has changed.

Owen though has said that he won’t allow his new injury set-back to make him think about retiring from the game if his contract at Old Trafford (which is due to run out in July) is not extended:

“I’m 31, so I’d still like to think I’ve got a few years left in me when you look at players like Giggsy,” Owen said in an interview broadcast on Sky Sports News.

“And while they are playing in their mid to late-thirties, that is great for us all, really.

“But I’d like to think I’ve got a few years left in me and I still love the game. How can’t you love it when you are playing for such a top club like Manchester United?”

It’s hardly surprising that Owen has looked at how Ryan Giggs (as well as Paul Scholes before he retired) has kept going in his career, keeping his fitness levels and form up into his late 30’s and with that in mind wants to try and play on for a few more years at the top.

The question is though, should Owen, who could probably still do a job at a mid-table team or Championship side do that at United. The answer to that question is probably no, which will mean that if he does want to play for 2-3 more years (which he could if he wanted to) he will have to do that elsewhere.

By doing that of course, Owen will have to admit to himself (not that he doesn’t already know) that a step-down to a smaller club will be the best thing for his career. As a hungry player looking for trophies of course in the twilight of his career that may be a hard thing for him to do, as it would for any player when they realise that the best thing for them to do is to leave a club the size of United’s.

Money isn’t an issue for the former-Liverpool forward who revealed that he turned down ‘better offers’ from other Premier League clubs to join United when he left Newcastle in the summer of 2009. So bearing that in mind if he were to sign for a club at the end of the season, it would be purely down to footballing-reasons.

For his sake I hope he plays on for a few more years yet as after all his injury problems it would be great if the former ‘Boy Wonder’ could end his career playing more regularly, scoring more goals at the same time. Very few football fans in England would not want to see him do that, given all that’s he given for the game.

By Adam Dennehey @ADennehey87