Mixed fortunes for United's Owens
SIR Alex Ferguson has defended his "punt" on signing Michael Owen from Newcastle this summer after the striker made a promising start to his United career. Owen has scored four goals in as many games since joining the Red Devils in a shock move from Tyneside and Ferguson expects more of the same this season in a gamble which may well pay dividends. "He is a natural goalscorer and his record is fantastic," said the Scot. "He is 29 now and he has just got to stay the way he has been for 10 years." The England frontman's injury woes have grabbed most of the attention over the last four years, but Ferguson believes if he can stay fit and agile - as he has been in pre-season so far - he could well turn out to be one of the bargains of the summer. The 29-year-old should make his next appearance in a United shirt in this evening's Audi Cup clash with Boca Juniors, a game which will be staged in Munich's Allianz Arena. Should he figure in that fixture and play again against either Bayern Munich or AC Milan tomorrow, six games in 12 days would suggest his injury problems are a thing of the past. Competitive "His injuries have always been the main subject and that is probably why everyone in Europe was not after him," continued the United manager. "We don't think we have taken a risk, given his record as a goalscorer. "It is a good punt, or a good bet on him to do well, and hopefully we are right." Ferguson will this evening take his first close look at Antonio Valencia, but there will be no sight of former Bayern midfielder Owen Hargreaves just yet. Hargreaves was the first player to score a goal in a competitive match at the Allianz Arena when he netted here for the Bavarians in August 2005. But his career, like that of Owen's, has been dogged by injury recently and Ferguson does not want to do anything which may jeopardise him making a complete recovery from two knee operations - not even for reasons of nostalgia for the Canada-born 28-year-old, who spent a decade growing up in Munich. "Hargreaves will not play in this tournament," he said. "We had hoped he would be joining us, but he is still in his programme of rehabilitation. "He has had major operations on both knees and we are not rushing that. "He is young enough to come back once he is fully fit, but we are not rushing him." What do you think? Have your say.
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