Are you sure, Michael Injury-hit Owen claims he can play at the top for three more years
18:30 GMT, 27 March 2012
Manchester United striker Michael Owen insists he still has three more years at the top level despite his present injury problems.
Owen has made only four appearances for the Red Devils this season, and none since November, since when he has been sidelined by a thigh problem.
Horses for courses: Owen believes he still has three years at the top
It has merely compounded the problems he has suffered throughout the latter years of his career, having exploded on to the scene as a teenager in the 1998 World Cup and then become England's fourth-highest goalscorer.
So long has Owen been around, it is hard to imagine he is still only 32. And, whilst he has ruled out extending his career into his late 30s Ryan Giggs-style, the former Liverpool and Real Madrid star is adamant there is more in the tank.
'I must admit, I don't think I am going to be one of the players who is still playing when they are 37 or 38 like Ryan,' said Owen.
'But I certainly think I still have another two or three years left in me.
'I listen to players in the dressing room; some players are struggling to get out of bed and complain about their knees or achilles.
Life of Ryan: Owen admits he won't be able to emulate Giggs
'I honestly can't resonate with them. I never get any pains like that.
'It is probably strange for people to hear that because they know I am injured.
'But joint-wise I feel great. I feel as though I can play, it's just when I get injuries, they always seem to be bad ones.
Injury prone: Owen has made only four appearances this season
'My body feels as though it can play and my mind wants to and the aim is to keep going for at least another couple of years.'
It is hard to imagine those years might be at United. Sir Alex Ferguson spoke optimistically about the impact Owen could have in the title run-in and there is no doubt his predatory instincts may prove invaluable before the campaign reaches its climax.
However, it was a surprise when Owen was offered an extension to his initial two-year deal last summer.
With Danny Welbeck joining Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez as regular members of Ferguson's starting line-up, Owen's chances of playing more regularly appear remote, even though Dimitar Berbatov looks certain to be amongst the close season departures.
Ambitious Championship outfit Brighton expressed an interest in January and there are bound to be plenty of suitors despite Owen's patchy fitness record. And he has not completely given up on United.
'I know what I want to do,' he said. 'If you say certain things they can get misconstrued but I have not lost the passion to be playing more often.
'In life, you have to make hard decisions. I have made some good ones and some bad, but in general terms I am pretty proud of my career.
'I still think I have another two or three years but where that will be is a question that the manager would be better placed to answer. 'I am exactly the same situation I was last year.'