Stoke City: Michael Owen fit, but not yet firing
MICHAEL Owen would love a crack at Manchester City tomorrow – but warns it will be another fortnight before Stoke fans see him firing on all cylinders again.
Owen has survived his first week's road-testing at Stoke after arriving with just 11 Premier League appearances to his name in the last 13 months.
He says his body has passed its MOT ahead of tomorrow's big clash (3pm), but his goalscoring instincts still need some fine-tuning.
"I feel as though I'm fit enough to take part in a game," declared the 32-year-old England striker.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
"The word I get from a lot of the fitness staff is that I'm pretty much right in there in the pack in terms of fitness.
"But when I'm training, I feel a little bit rusty and know that my touch will improve from doing more.
"I'm not 100 per cent co-ordinated, although it's not that I'm falling over!"
Owen, who is one short of 150 Premier League goals, added: "I've always scored goals, so as long as I can stay fit and healthy, I'm sure I can do that here at Stoke.
"Hopefully, I won't lose the knack of being in the right place at the right time. But obviously with not playing for a while, there's a few things to brush up on, and in training I feel I'm not quite there with my touch and co-ordination.
"So hopefully, in a couple of weeks, I will be fully up to speed and on top form again."
Owen, a free agent all summer after leaving Manchester United, declined to answer suggestions he had been waiting for the likes of first club Liverpool to weigh in with an offer before committing himself to Stoke.
"I spoke to the manager here three months prior," he disclosed, "so I knew there was a strong possibility I would come here. I will blame him for not making it happen sooner!
"It just dragged on. I was eager to sign straight away, so I'm not quite sure of the reason for the delay. But that's in the past."
And Owen politely brushed aside assertions that he and Peter Crouch would become an automatic partnership in Stoke's attack, although he acknowledged they had an impressive history after sharing 16 goals in the 16 internationals they have played together.
"There's nothing in my contract to say I'm starting every game," he stated, "but the evidence is there for all to see that we have done particularly well together."
Owen maintained he was overlooked, not unfit, for much of his final year at United, but admits: "I suppose I have a lot to prove... whether I can take the rigours of a full season."
Owen's fellow new boy, midfielder Charlie Adam, trained yesterday to prove he has recovered from the groin injury that consigned him to the substitutes' bench when Scotland took on Macedonia at Hampden Park on Tuesday.
Adam joined the action in the 58th minute, replacing Kenny Miller, in the disappointing 2-2 draw.
MIDFIELDER Michael Tonge has joined Championship side Leeds United on loan for three months and could make his debut at Cardiff City tomorrow.