Owen questions drop decision
Newcastle striker Michael Owen has questioned Alan Shearer's decision to leave him out against Liverpool last week. Owen, who was restored to the starting line-up for Monday's win over Middlesbrough, was left out by his old team-mate for the trip to former club Liverpool last weekend as Newcastle slumped to a 3-0 defeat at Anfield. Shearer substituted Owen 20 minutes from time against Middlesbrough with his replacement Obafemi Martins going to score the crucial second goal within a minute of entering the pitch. Owen, speaking in the matchday programme notes, admits he was upset to be left out and feels Shearer was wrong to omit him from the starting line-up. Owen wrote: "On a personal basis, I am glad the last fortnight is over. "I was angry with myself for missing that chance against Portsmouth and then disappointed to be left out of the starting line-up against my former club. No old pals act"I have known our manager ever since I started in the game and consider him to be a friend but there was no old pals' act as far as his decision-making was concerned. "Though I was upset and felt that he was wrong - only last week the press pointed out that, even though I had only scored eight league goals this season, my conversion ratio was the best in the Premier League - what I can't fault is the way he handled the situation: strong, up front and honest. Just the way a top manager should be. "I also appreciate that rotation is part of today's game and any number of top players were left out of the Champions League semi-finals for tactical or other reasons." Focused Owen, who is out of contract at St James' Park in the summer, insists the whole squad is focused on getting Newcastle out of trouble in the fight to avoid relegation. "I wish you were able to see how professional and focused we all are," added Owen. "The management team have made certain that we are in the right frame of mind and each of us knows the job we have to do as individuals and as part of the team."
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