Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson sets Michael Owen goal target
25 July 2009 12:24
Ferguson has handed Owen the legendary number seven shirt, worn by greats such as Eric Cantona, David Beckham and Ronaldo, and believes the England international can pose a major goal threat.
Ferguson, speaking ahead of United's final match of their Asian tour, said the former Newcastle United player had a great goalscoring pedigree and even continued to find the net in the past two years when his Newcastle side struggled.
"I hope he gets plenty," said the Scot, when asked how many goals Owen would score for his new side. "If he plays 25 games for me next season I think he'll get 15 goals.
Owen, 29, joined the Premier League champions on a free transfer earlier this month.
His move to Old Trafford was met with scepticism by some after a series of injuries robbed the former Liverpool and Real Madrid star of the lightning pace that had been such a crucial part of his armoury. But he has enjoyed a good start to his United career, bagging a goal in both of the side's games in Malaysia.
Even with the departure this summer of Cristiano Ronaldo and Carlos Tevez, competition up front remains fierce, with Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov and teenaged Federico Macheda vying for starting spots.
Ferguson said he had been rotating the four strikers during the Asian tour in a bid to test his options, particularly with the arrival of Owen and the emergence of Macheda, 17.
"We have to find out and understand the best possible combinations for those four players," he said.
Ryan Giggs also backed Owen to shine, saying the club had signed a "proven world-class striker".
"It's true we have lost Cristiano and Carlos, who over the last couple of years especially have been important and great players for the club, but that's what's so great about Manchester United.
"We lose great players and the club doesn't stand still. We still look forward."
United wrap up their Asian tour with a match against Hangzhou Greentown on Sunday looking for a clean sweep after two wins in Malaysia and one in South Korea.