Reports in The Metro suggest that Michael Owen’s United career could well be over after the striker pulled up in training with a groin injury on Monday.
The Metro states that Owen: “has been diagnosed with a groin injury, with early speculation suggesting the former England international striker could be out for three months – ending his season, and potentially his United career – prematurely.”
While the media have been quick to write Owen off before, this latest injury does look as though it could potentially scupper any chances of Owen playing any part in the remainder of United’s season. Although he could be back in time for the end of the season, whether he is or not remains to be seen as does whether Sir Alex would use him at – ‘business end’ of the- business end of the season.
Owen’s transfer to United should have been a dream move for the then free agent, especially after the ‘brochure’ debacle where his agent saw fit to treat his client like a catalogue item, releasing a glossy pamphlet to club’s advertising his ability.
The football world was stunned when Owen- who up until then had been linked with a move to Hull City- was unveiled as United’s latest signing and then given the coveted number seven shirt. Owen ingratiated himself into the hearts of even the most sceptical Red with his injury time winner against the ‘noisy neighbours’ in the ‘Greatest Derby Ever’.
Since then though, Owen’s United career has been something of a disappointment, with the occasional high: hat-trick against Wolfsburg in the CL, and the more frequent lows, going off injured in the Carling Cup final being one, donning a Liverpool shirt for Jamie Carragher’s testimonial being my personal nadir.
To be fair to Owen it’s injury rather than ability that’s scuppered his United career, as when he’s played he’s looked more than capable. Sir Alex made a valid point that had Owen not been injured in the Carling Cup final United may well have won the league last season as you would have fancied him to grab a goal at Blackburn or maybe against Chelsea to tip the title race in our favour.
This season Owen’s found his chances limited due to the usual injury problems and the emergence of a certain young Mexican who’s exceeded everyone’s expectations. Another problem Owen has faced is the rise of Dimitar Berbatov, who’s become the Premier League’s top scorer, when many thought he may not even be at United after the Summer.
With even Berbatov not guaranteed a start -at least for certain ‘big’ games, Owen’s chances have been limited to the likes of Scunthorpe and Southampton. He may have done well and scored when he’s played but he’s often caught in a catch -22 as the level of opposition he’s scoring against is hardly awe-inspiring, so it’s unlikely to suddenly make Fergie deem him good enough to replace Rooney or Berbatov.
Even the loaning out of Danny Welbeck and Kiko Macheda hasn’t really helped Owen’s cause as he’s still very much United’s fourth choice striker.
With Welbeck expected by many to return to Old Trafford next season- following his impressive showing at Sunderland, Owen’s chances will be even more limited than they are now.
Personally, I like Owen and feel sorry for him that what should have been a dream move, seems to have been a fairly frustrating one. I agree with Sir Alex’s point that had he stayed fit he could well have helped United win the title last year and I don;t think any Red will ever forget that injury time winner against City.
It may now be time to face hard facts though and with the striker at the age of 31 this latest injury set back could well mean his time at Old Trafford has come to an end. If Owen doesn’t kick another ball for United, I’d still say his move was worth it, not just for that derby goal but also the faces of the many scousers who had to witness a former ‘legend’ donning the shirt of their most despised rivals.
Michael Owen, I salute you sir, I hope we see you again in a United shirt, but if not, thanks for everything.
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