Alan Shearer has challenged Michael Owen to respond to claims about his future by scoring goals for Newcastle.
Media reports suggested on Friday that Owen was planning to retire at the end of the season and become a full-time racehorse trainer and owner.
The striker's representatives immediately dismissed the reports and Shearer hopes the whole situation will help to fire up his player.
Owen has not scored since January and was withdrawn during the 3-1 victory over Middlesbrough on Monday, when substitutes Obafemi Martins and Peter Lovenkrands grabbed crucial late goals.
Shearer will include Owen in his squad for Saturday's key clash with Fulham and he has backed the 29-year-old to rediscover his best form.
Asked what Owen could do about the speculation, Shearer said: "Go out and score goals. The player has always got the last opportunity to go out and do the business on the football pitch.
Last laugh"He always has the chance to have the last laugh. My mind will never change with Michael Owen - if you give him chances, eventually he will score goals, I have no doubt about that."
Shearer insists the retirement claims have not bothered Owen, whose contract expires in the summer.
"He doesn't need it, doesn't deserve it," said Shearer. "The stories that are out this morning are totally ludicrous and totally untrue as far as he's concerned, and he has laughed them off.
"But Michael Owen is a big-name player and sometimes will attract headlines."
Shearer is convinced that Owen will continue playing in the top flight for some time, even if Newcastle are unable to keep him.
He explained: "I am 100 per cent certain he will have a future in the Premier League.
"But as to where that will be, here or elsewhere, that's for a discussion at the end of the season."