Sir Alex Ferguson is yet to speak with Michael Owen about his future - but he insists the former England striker has a big part to play this season.
Owen, whose contract expires in the summer, has failed to make a meaningful contribution during his second season at Manchester United. His substitute appearance against Stoke on Tuesday was only his eighth at senior level this season, three of which have been starts.
"Now he is back fit, Michael will always be considered part of the squad and he will play in some big games," Ferguson told Key103.
"I have not spoken to him about next season. There is no need for me to discuss that at the moment.
"He is a terrific player and a role model in the dressing room. He has never missed a session while he has been fit."
Owen's fitness made it easier for Ferguson to accept Federico Macheda's request to leave United on loan for the remainder of the season, even if his destination, Sampdoria, was not quite what Ferguson was hoping for.
"Federico feels he has been neglected on the international front," said Ferguson.
"This has given him an opportunity to play in Italy, where they can see him every week.
"We would have preferred him to play in the Premier League and he had opportunities to do that with several clubs.
"But he has made a good case and every player should always want to play for their international team."