Is Michael Owen still good enough for the Premier League?

 

Michael Owen has had an illustrious career most footballers can only dream about, but will he be able to recapture some of the magic from his glory days following his move to Stoke City?

The striker, now 32, signed a professional contract with Liverpool as a fresh-faced 17-year-old in 1996 before bursting onto the world scene with his solo goal for England against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup.

Once one of the world's most lethal marksmen, he became only the fourth English player to win the European footballer of the year award, receiving the accolade in 2001 ahead of Raul and Oliver Kahn.

Owen left Liverpool for spells at Real Madrid, Newcastle United and Manchester United before deciding to join Stoke City on Tuesday.

But can he still make an impact at Premier League level?

Expert's view - Gary McAllister

McAllister played with Owen at Liverpool from 2000 to 2002.

"In the time our paths crossed at Liverpool, there were games where he would not figure for large parts but would then score vital and phenomenal goals.

"The 2-1 FA Cup win against Arsenal is a prime example. We came back from a goal down to win in the last 10 minutes. He won games on his own.

Gary McAllister (left) and Michael Owen

McAllister (left) and Owen played for Liverpool when they won five trophies in the 2000-01 season

"In his young days, he would be on the shoulder of the last defender and use his pace and darting runs to create his chances. Now he takes more of a part in the build-up play. He looks for space in the holes where defenders do not like to go.

"He's not old and if he can get some core fitness we can see what he can still do. We don't know what he can do as no-one's seen enough of him at Manchester United.

"When he did play for United, he did look a goal threat.

"Allied with Stoke's physical threat, his guile and experience will be a good foil for their big guys. He might not have the electric pace but his game has adapted.

"Whether he can play week-in week-out remains to be seen, but his ratio of goals per minutes is very good.

"He has belief in his ability and certainly backs himself."

Michael Owen in numbers

  • Despite playing in 15 different Premier League seasons, Owen has never scored 20 goals in a single Premier League campaign.

Premier League's most prolific

The minutes per goal (mpg) of the players with more than 100 top flight goals

  • Thierry Henry 121.8 (mpg)
  • Robin van Persie 135
  • Alan Shearer 146.9
  • Michael Owen 154
  • Ian Wright 157.4
  • Didier Drogba 166.7
  • Andrew Cole 168.9
  • Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink 170
  • Wayne Rooney 170.5
  • Robbie Fowler 171.5

Stats from Opta

  • He has scored only 31 goals in 102 Premier League appearances since leaving Liverpool in 2004.
  • He scored at least 19 goals in six of seven seasons at Anfield but, in subsequent campaigns, has only managed 14, 7, 0, 13, 10, 9, 5 and 3.
  • At Liverpool, he averaged a goal every 143 minutes in the Premier League - netting 188 goals in 216 top-flight appearances for the club.
  • He has been most prolific against Newcastle and West Ham in the Premier League - netting 13 goals against each side. He has scored against 33 of the 39 teams that he has faced in the Premier League.
  • While at Real Madrid, he scored 13 goals in 36 league appearances at an average of a goal every 145 minutes.
  • Owen is one of only two English players to have scored more than one hat-trick in the Champions League (excluding qualifiers). Both he and former Manchester United forward Andrew Cole have scored two in the competition.

Career highs and lows

1996: Signs a professional contract at Liverpool on his 17th birthday, having helped them win the FA Youth Cup.

Michael Owen

Owen scored on his Liverpool debut and was 2001 European Footballer of the year

1997: Scores on his Reds debut in a 2-1 defeat by Wimbledon, nets on his European bow against Celtic, grabs a hat-trick against Grimsby in the League Cup and marks his England Under-21 debut with a goal.

1998: Becomes the youngest England international of the 20th century after starting against Chile aged 18. Joint top scorer in Premier League with 18 goals and goes on to play at the World Cup where he scores his famous goal against Argentina.

2001: Two goals from Owen in the last seven minutes helps Liverpool come back from a goal down to beat Arsenal 2-1 in the FA Cup final. Also helps Merseysiders win Uefa Cup and League Cup. Named European footballer of the year.

2004: Signs for Real Madrid for £8m and scores 14 goals in 40 games, mainly coming off the substitutes bench.

2005: Joins Newcastle United for £17m but breaks a metatarsal bone in December and spends a lengthy spell on sidelines.

2006: Injured in the first minute of the group game for England against Sweden at the 2006 World Cup.

2007: Returns after more than 10 months out to make a first competitive start for Newcastle in a 1-0 defeat by Reading.

2009: Scores 10 goals but it is not enough to stop Newcastle from being relegated from the Premier League and he decides not to renew his Magpies contract. Signs for Manchester United on a free transfer.

2011: Wins a Premier League winners' medal at Old Trafford.

2012: Manchester United do not offer Owen a new deal and he joins Premier League rivals Stoke City on a free transfer.