Stoke City: Why Michael Owen will be a hit with the Potters
Michael Owen has been officially confirmed as a Stoke City player and in seven days time he could make his debut for the Potters against the champions Manchester City. It was against City that he scored his most famous goal for Manchester United and he would love to start his career at Stoke with a similar start.
However, Owen hasn't played much football over the past few years. Injuries and old father time have caught up with him, but Tony Pulis was desperate to add Owen to his squad and is convinced that he can squeeze the very best out of him at the Britannia.
Owen may not have the same blistering pace he possessed when he burst on to the scene as a fresh faced teenager, but the knack of putting the ball over the line has never left him. We may not have seen much of Owen since he returned to these shores from Real Madrid in 2005, but when he has crossed the white line he has always been in amongst the goals.
At Liverpool he was a goal in every other game striker, but since leaving for Real Madrid in 2004 he has become a scorer in every three. However, that's not bad going when you consider he was hardly a regular starter at the Bernabeu, was plagued with injuries at Newcastle and was only used sparingly at Old Trafford. To get a player with that strike rate and wealth of experience on a free transfer is a real coup.
However, Michael Owen has never been a 20-goal a season man in the Premier League. The closest he came to reaching that milestone was in the 2001/02 and 2002/03 seasons at Anfield where he notched 19 times. Tony Pulis will not be putting any pressure on Owen to reach any specific targets but you can guarantee that Owen himself will be looking to reach double figures for the first time since he hit 11 in 2007/08 for Newcastle.
With his former England strike partner Peter Crouch alongside him flicking the ball, the likes of Etherington and Kightly pinging the balls into the box for him and the craft and guile of Charlie Adam splitting the defence for Owen to finish, Owen has every chance of being a success at the Britannia. The fans in the Potteries love players who give their all for the team and Owen will always put himself about up top. He will put the keeper under pressure, he will charge defenders in possession of the ball and give his team-mates an option.
Some critics have questioned his desire for football. Sure he has interests outside of the game. Everyone knows he is a huge lover of horses and is a big family man, but football is his first love and Owen will be hoping to put his injury worries behind him and have a great season for Stoke.
Owen knows he has been in a privileged position, to play football and be paid handsomely for it. He will also be the first to hold his hands up and say that his career has stuttered in recent times. But this is his final chance to remind people that he is and always has been one of the finest strikers England have ever had.
The striker is currently joint sixth with Les Ferdinand in the all-time Premier League top scorers list on 149. He is 13 behind the player Liverpool fans call God, Owen's former strike partner Robbie Fowler. He would love to beat that record and he will be hoping to do it in a Stoke shirt this season. If he does, the Potters could be on their way to a return to Europe.
Calling all Stoke fans: Will Michael Owen be a success at Stoke or do you think Pulis has made a mistake? Whatever your views we would love to hear from you.
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