Michael Owen: I could have played more games for Stoke City
STOKE striker Michael Owen insists he has been fit and available for more matches than the public realise during his one and only season in the Potteries.
The former England striker, who has only appeared seven time for Stoke, also says he took the decision to quit the game nearly three months ago.
Writing on his blog this evening, Owen says: "I had come to the decision before Christmas that this would be my final season in professional football although that wasn't quite the plan at the outset.
"I had signed for Stoke with every intention of playing more football than I had in recent seasons. For whatever reason, it hasn't transpired.
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"Yes, I've had a couple of small muscle injuries but it would be wrong to blame my lack of action on fitness. I have been available for a higher percentage of games this season than in my previous two.
"It just hasn't happened and the simple fact is, it is either the manager's opinion that I am not good enough to get into the team or that I don't fit into the system that we adopt.
"That is an opinion that I accepted a long time ago and that has obviously contributed to the timing of my announcement. It is also an opinion that I totally respect."
Owen admitted he and his family were extremely emotional on Tuesday after announcing he would retire at the end of the season.
He also discloses that his future plans will, apart from a media career, also include the creation of Michael Owen Management Limited to help guide young players through the pitfalls of a professional career.
Looking back on his own career, the 33 year-old striker says he was almost too quick when he was a youngster and that contributed to the injury problems preventing more games and more scoring records.
But there are no regrets, he says, and casting an eye back on his famous goal for England against Argentina, he adds: "It has been the best journey I could ever have wished for.
"I take pride in the fact that I have given people so much pleasure over the years. I retire in the knowledge that everybody knows where they were when 'That Goal' nestled into the top corner of the Argentinian's net!"