Owen Won't Get A Second Chance Yet
Michael Owen hasn't set the world on fire as a Manchester United player yet. The striker started only one Premier League game and he was wretched in that one, scored one fine but meaningless goal at Wigan as a substitute and that's all.
As the Berbatov-Rooney partnership is flourishing - when one of them was absent, against Arsenal and Burnley, our attacking play fell apart - nobody is calling for Owen's inclusion. But a game like today's Champions League opener at Besiktas seemed the perfect opportunity to test the Berbatov-Owen pairing - which Fergie will not do.
'Michael Owen has not been involved and I have explained that to him. The season has not really started and, because of the international fixtures, we are not really playing Saturday/Wednesday at the moment. So Owen doesn't come in to the equation because we are trying to get a blend of Berbatov and Rooney.
'He will play plenty of games, but just maybe not in the early stage of the season. Will he start tonight? No, I wouldn't think so, but we may change formation a wee bit.
'You have to respect this competition and we can't afford to not qualify. This is the first game, so we have to pick the right team.'
Basically, that means Fergie is unafraid that Rooney might be a little tired, that he might need a little refreshing... because I don't think he's considering starting Owen against City on the weekend. However, his points about the group stand: it looks unlikely that the horrors of 2005/06 will return but we should not gamble anyway. Beating Besiktas would go a long way to ensure our passage from the group so Rooney and Berbatov must find enough energy to perform tonight and on Sunday as well. As for Owen: patience, dear friend, patience.