Michael Owen Out To Prove A Point
Manchester United's new signing Michael Owen has vowed to silence the critics with a goal feast following the exits of Ronaldo and Tevez from Old Trafford.
Owen, 29, tells FourFourTwo magazine: 'The team has lost two players, Tevez, who scored a few and Ronaldo who got lots over the last two seasons. There's a big hole to fill and hopefully I can help plug it in terms of goals. I can't do it on my own, but I will help out. When you sign for United you get excited about a lot of things and one of them is hopefully scoring a lot of goals, because I am going to get a lot more chances here than at other teams.
Owen also told of his 'honour' wearing the coveted Number 7 shirt. 'It's obviously a shirt that holds a lot of affection for the fans and I'm honoured the manager asked me to wear it. Sir Alex said he needed someone with broad shoulders to wear it and would i do it? I had to take the opportunity and hopefully won't let the shirt down.'
The ex Newcastle, Real Madrid and Liverpool player also hit back at negative comments made by Dave Whelan and Sam Allardyce
'If that was how they were perceiving me, fine, because the greatest accolade I could have is that Sir Alex Ferguson didn't think about that. I can quietly sit here and and look around where I am now and if anyone else wants to look at what they've said, then they might feel embarrassed. I don't feel I have to impress these people. I only need to prove things to people who believe in me. I want to show Sir Alex was right to believe in me. '
He also accepts he is not the player he was ten years ago. 'I'm still the same player I was four or five years ago but the truth is that I'm a different one to 10 years ago. I'm not as fast as I was when I was 18 but I'm better at holding the ball up, I understand the game better and I have more experience. I'm more cute and and clever with how I time my runs. When I was younger I was much quicker, so you play without fear, you don't care about anything, you just want to score a goal. When you get older and wiser you think about things more.'
Owen also hopes to win his place back in the England squad for next year's World Cup qualifiers. 'My mind's been thinking about that since I was three years old in the back garden and nothing has changed. Winning the World Cup is the ultimate, it's still my dream.'
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Also you'll see the opinions of the Vital Football editors for most teams in the pre-season supplement.