Owen out for the season
Michael Owen’s dream of representing England in South Africa this summer appears over after he was ruled out for the rest of the season with a hamstring injury.
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson today confirmed the striker would miss the rest of the campaign after suffering the injury in the League Cup final victory over Aston Villa last Sunday.
“Unfortunately it’s bad blow with Michael Owen,” Alex Ferguson told the club website. “He’s out for the season. It’s more serious than we thought.
It’s a terrible blow for the lad and disappointing for us too. He’s never missed a training session all season.
Sir Alex Ferguson on Michael Owen
“He gets operated on on Monday morning. It’s a terrible blow for the lad and disappointing for us too. He’s never missed a training session all season. I think the heavy pitch at Wembley played some part, but it’s also bad luck.”
Owen, who scored in the Wembley final, had admitted before the injury that he was a “long shot” to make Fabio Capello’s FIFA World Cup™ squad.
“Unfortunately the specialist says I will miss the end of the season,” said Owen. “I have loved every minute of my first campaign with Manchester United and have already enjoyed some memorable moments. I am determined to come back at the start of next season in peak condition.”
Meanwhile, Ferguson has admitted he should have used Michael Owen more often than he did this season. Despite being part of the matchday squad for all but one game in United’s lengthy campaign, it was only Owen’s 11th start in all competitions, one of the major reasons why he was consistently overlooked by Fabio Capello.
It is a low number for a player of such obvious talent. And, while Ferguson can point to the brilliance of Wayne Rooney as the reason for Owen’s regular omissions, the Red Devils chief accepts he could have made more use of a player he snapped up on a free transfer last summer.
“Michael has been such an important player for us and I know I have not used him as much as I should have,” said Ferguson. “That is a lot to do with Rooney’s form and our choice of playing one striker. He has been a little bit unfortunate with that.
“But we recognise he has made a great contribution. He is a good professional who has been terrific in the dressing room. It is the first time he has had a hamstring injury in four years as well, so it is a disappointment for the lad and a bad blow for us.”