Michael Carrick is backing long-time England team-mate Michael Owen to hit the goal trail following his first Manchester United hat-trick on Tuesday night.

Owen emerged the hero from a defiant Red Devils display, Sir Alex Ferguson's men making light of the absence of 14 senior players to overcome German champions Wolfsburg at the Volkswagen Arena. It was the striker's first Champions League treble since 2003 and confirmed United's status as Group B winners.

"It was a great achievement," said Carrick. "Scoring a hat-trick away from home in the Champions League doesn't happen so often but it is just what he is all about."

He added: "We always knew he could do it. He has been doing it all his career.

"Hopefully now he can get on a roll and he will continue to score many important goals for us over the next few weeks."

All three were typical Owen goals.

He found enough space when Nani crossed to guide home a close-range header and put United in front just before the break, then evaded a clutch of Wolfsburg defenders to tap home Gabriel Obertan's cross seven minutes from time to seal victory.

Owen's third arrived when he charged clear from halfway in the manner of old after racing onto another short pass from Obertan, before calmly chipping Wolfsburg keeper Diego Benaglio.

"Strikers like scoring goals and hopefully it will give him an extra bit of confidence, not that he needed it," observed Carrick.

"It is good for him to score but it is about what he is contributing as well. As long as we are winning and everyone is playing well, we are satisfied."

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Michael Owen
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