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Will was right!

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He just gets injured a lot... ;)


Michael Owen believes he is too clever to allow his goalscoring powers to wane despite the serious injuries that have plagued him during four difficult seasons at Newcastle United.


Although the Newcastle hierarchy intends to reopen contract negotiations with Owen if and when the team are safe from relegation, the England international will become a free agent in the summer if he does not agree a new deal.


For now, the 29-year-old is adamant he is only thinking about Newcastle's safety mission but there was also a staunch defence of his injury record for Newcastle's board, and other interested parties, to mull over between now and the end of May. Owen has started just 60 games for Newcastle since a £16.5m move from Real Madrid in August 2005, although he strongly denies he is injury-prone and argues the best players adapt their game with age.


"Hopefully the injuries haven't detracted from me as a player," said Owen. "I've adapted my game as I've got older and my body has dictated that to an extent. When I was 18 and 19 I was flying down the wings like a greyhound, beating players and crossing the ball.


"Alan Shearer was the same, he changed his game and became more of a target man towards the end, but he still got the goals. Clever players will always manage to adapt; they will always find a way of prevailing, even if their bodies change."


Owen's body has changed since the knee ligament injury he suffered playing for England in the World Cup in Germany in 2006, an injury he blames on a broken metatarsal suffered five months earlier while playing for his club against Tottenham Hotspur.


He said: "If you look at my time at Newcastle, the problems started when Paul Robinson landed on my foot against Tottenham just after Christmas. Loads of people get metatarsal injuries, but they are normally not as bad as mine.


"I've then rushed my preparations for the World Cup. I played half a game for Newcastle. After being in plaster for so long my leg was deconditioned and with hindsight I should never have gone to Germany with England. It's easy to say that now, but if I had my time again I would still have gone because it was a World Cup. I'm not thinking what could have been, but with hindsight my leg was half as strong as it should have been."


Over the next 10 months, Owen put on more than a stone of muscle during hours of rehabilitation in the gym, yet has still scored at a ratio of virtually a goal every other game for Newcastle when fit. He added: "There is no hiding from the fact injuries have been the bane of my time at Newcastle. It is frustrating, however, and people will probably laugh, but I know I'm not injury-prone.


"I know I've had valid reasons for why I've picked up injuries. There is no way I go on to the pitch and am more fragile than anyone else ... I can understand people saying I should have played more because nobody wants to play more than me. I'm still as hungry and competitive as ever."



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