Michael Owen: Mentally prepared for battle and ready to take on the opposition both on and off the field.
I know there were some United fans who were dubious and skeptical about the benefits of signing Newcastle United burden Michael Owen but I am convinced Sir Alex has in fact made the bargain buy of the season.
The 29 year old has a lot of baggage but let us not forget that he is also a proven finisher, even in his darkest days at St James’ Park he was netting at a very healthy strike rate and with next summer’s World Cup looming it was an inspired move by Ferguson to sign the former Liverpool man but in my mind not the gamble everyone makes it out to be, just good financial sense.
Yes, Pre-season friendlies are not necessarily the best judge of a player’s abilities but given that is all we can judge the striker’s early United performances on, Owen has been superb with four goals in three games and more importantly showed that he can gel with his fellow front men, Dimitar Berbatov and Wayne Rooney.
The pint sized striker has a point to prove both to fans and doubters alike but most importantly he also has to convince Fabio Capello of his worth and that desire should not be devalued. It is clearly hugely important to Michael Owen that he gets back in the England fold, and not just so he can make up ground to becoming the leading national goalscorer of all time but also to prove to himself he can still do it. There must have been times during his injury ravaged time in the north-east that he must have severely considered giving up or at least questioned his own ability and the lifeline thrown to him by the Old Trafford boss is priceless and not something Owen will let slip away so easily.
Also take into account that whilst he may have scored a shed load of goals he is still without the two most alluring prizes available to him. The Premier League and the Champions League winners medals so again he won’t want to let the opportunity to grab these accolades without a fight.
Originally it appeared to many, myself included, that Chester born lad would be more of a bit part player, but he may well prove to be more of a selection headache than we had thought. Ferguson knows the best way to defeat complacency in his side is to have ready made replacements breathing down his first team regular’s necks and he will be hoping that Owen does just that.