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Pulis hails retiring Owen after final game for Stoke
Updated published : 20 May 2013 07:16:58Rss feed
Stoke manager Tony Pulis heaped praise on Michael Owen after the former England striker called time on his professional career.
After playing for Liverpool, Real Madrid, Newcastle and Manchester United, the 33-year-old announced in March he would hang up his boots after just one season in the Potteries. Owen's final appearance came away at Southampton, coming on for the final 16 minutes of a hard-fought 1-1 draw on the south coast.
"It was always the plan to bring him on," he said. "He had a great chance in the second half to actually put the icing on the cake. If he had scored, I think even the Southampton supporters would have given him a round of applause. He got a great reception and he deserves it."
The striker was given a standing ovation by all inside a sold-out St Mary's and, despite having failed to make a league start for Stoke, boss Pulis praised the influence he has had at the Britannia Stadium.
He added: "He has been a very, very good pro for us and, not just his football side, he is a very, very good family man. We're pleased with the year he has been with us. He is good fun to work with, a good person to work with and we wish him all the best for the future."
Southampton executive chairman Nicola Cortese ended speculation about his future on Friday by announcing he would stay at the club. Saints manager Mauricio Pochettino had pledged to follow the Italian out of the club and is pleased the situation has been resolved.
"I think that Nicola Cortese staying is the best possible news for next season," the Argentinian said. "That is very good for the squad, for the whole club. We will talk about the summer and the budgets with Nicola from tomorrow."
Fans chanted the names of Cortese and Pochettino throughout a match which Southampton could count themselves somewhat unfortunate not to win. City went ahead through a Peter Crouch header two minutes into the second half, before Rickie Lambert levelled 10 minutes later.
The fine form of Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic prevented Saints going on to win the match, meaning they end the season without a win in six attempts.
"We wanted to win, but weren't able to do so," Pochettino added. "The same story has happened, we dominated, created better chances, but we just couldn't close down the game and it shows we need to be more clinical and assertive."
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