MANCHESTER, England (AFP) - Michael Owen insists his first goal for Manchester United will be a springboard to prove the critics wrong.
Owen opened his account for the Premier League champions in Saturday's 5-0 victory against Wigan at the DW Stadium when he came off the bench to convert Nani's pass with a typically clinical finish.
The 29-year-old's goal was his first since January but he believes it offered a compelling response to the pundits who claimed he had little to offer Sir Alex Ferguson's team after missing several chances in pre-season.
Owen arrived at Old Trafford last month as a free agent after leaving relegated Newcastle. An ankle injury and a groin operation disrupted his final year on Tyneside but his overall contribution of 30 goals in 65 starts commands respect.
So too does his England tally - 40 in 89 international appearances - and Owen said: "I've missed a couple since the season started and, as ever, everyone is quick to write you off.
It was as if I hadn't scored for a couple of years.
"That's something I've had to deal with for 10-odd years now and I don't think that will change until I hang up my boots.
"It was certainly a great feeling to score. I'd got a few in pre-season but there's nothing quite like doing it in a competitive game.
"I probably scored the hardest chance I've had. I had two chances at Burnley and one against Birmingham, but this was the fourth real opportunity I've had."
Owen is keen to kick on and in the process catch the eye of England manager Fabio Capello, who has so far refused to bring the former Liverpool star back from his international exile.
"I'd be disappointed if people didn't think I could go on from here," he told MUTV.
"I obviously believe I can as I have done throughout my career and I certainly expect to score more goals in the red shirt."