Lack of game-time a factor - Owen
Michael Owen has admitted a lack of match action contributed to his decision to announce his retirement from football.
The 33-year-old former England striker this week confirmed he would hang up his boots at the end of the season, having struggled to command a regular place at Stoke.
"It would be wrong to blame fitness," he said on his website. "It is either the manager's opinion I am not good enough or that I don't fit into the system."
Adding that he had "total respect" for Tony Pulis' decision to leave him out more often than not, Owen continued: "Considering retirement was a gradual process but I had come to the decision before Christmas that this would be my final season in professional football, although that wasn't quite the plan at the outset.
"I had signed for Stoke with every intention of playing more football than I had in recent seasons.
"Looking at it realistically, things are unlikely to change in the remaining weeks of the season. And having played so little in recent years, the chances of me continuing to play at the top level look remote."
Saying he had turned down opportunities to play abroad in the future, the former Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle and Manchester United frontman said he planned to set up a company designed to help youngsters manage their career in the game.
Owen scored 40 goals in 89 appearances for England, but the latter years of his career have been marred by hamstring problems.
"An emotion that lives with me is a sense of 'what might have been' had injuries not robbed me of my most lethal weapon - speed," he added.
"Many of my highlights were early on in my career and I can only wonder what more I would have achieved had my body been able to withstand the demands that I was making of it. I was almost too quick."
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