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Staying at the top key for Owen
Published : 13 Jul 2011 13:17:00
Michael Owen admits the opportunity to remain with a top club took precedence over his desire to play every week when he signed a new deal. It was anticipated Owen would leave Manchester United this summer after his initial two-season deal expired. After all, the former England striker made only 17 appearances last term and the majority of his stint at United involved being introduced from the bench. With a major hamstring injury thrown in, it was difficult to see Sir Alex Ferguson concluding Owen had a future. However, the first indication United would offer an extension came when the 31-year-old was handed a place on the bench ahead of Dimitar Berbatov for the Champions League final defeat to Barcelona in May. Although Owen was not called upon as Ferguson's team slipped to a dismal 3-1 defeat, it was the prelude to talks which led to a significant decision from the striker. "You want the best of every world as a footballer," he told the club's official website. "You want to be playing at the best club - I'm at that - and you want to be training with the best players and under the best manager - I am certainly doing that. "You want to play at the best stadiums and in big games and obviously it's near to where I live. "There are lots of positives. The only slight negative is the amount I played last season. "The option is there to go to a lesser club and play more often but I'd prefer to play in a top team with all the things that come with it." In his post-season conversations with Ferguson, though, Owen was assured he will play a meaningful role in the quest for silverware. He does acknowledge that was the case during his debut season, only for the hamstring curse to strike in the middle of a Carling Cup final triumph over Aston Villa at Wembley. "The first season was great and had some great moments - scoring in the cup final and the goal against Manchester City, hat-trick in Wolfsburg," Owen added. "Last year wasn't quite so good, but the manager has spoken to me and said I'll be firmly in his plans this season. "He expects me to play a lot more."