Newcastle boss Alan Shearer has told Michael Owen to provide the perfect response to claims he is considering retirement by returning to his lethal best.
Tyneside woke this morning to suggestions, vehemently denied by his representatives, that the 29-year-old striker could be ready to hang up his boots after struggling to rediscover his form since his latest injury.
Owen, who has not scored since the 2-2 draw with West Ham on January 10, was withdrawn during the 3-1 win over derby rivals Middlesbrough on Monday night with the score at 1-1, and could only look on as substitutes Obafemi Martins and Peter Lovenkrands secured three precious points.
However, he will be in the squad for tomorrow's potentially decisive Barclays Premier League clash with Fulham, and Shearer knows how best he can respond to his detractors.
He 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.
"He always as 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."