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Owen and Ibrahimovic.

Michael Owen sends message to Zlatan Ibrahimovic after Man United return

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Manchester United's 4-1 win over Newcastle on Saturday marked the return of long-time absentees Marcos Rojo, Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

While Rojo didn't get off the bench, Ibrahimovic did; to a rapturous ovation, and Pogba deservedly picked up the Man of the Match award after a virtuoso midfield performance.

Zlatan got 13 minutes under his belt against the Magpies, and it's incredible to think that he has recovered from cruciate knee ligament damage months ahead of the usual time frame.

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One ex-Man United player who had his fair share of injuries during his career is Michael Owen, and he's full of praise for Ibrahimovic's determination and speed of recovery.

Ibra starred for United last term with an impressive 28 goals, however Owen believes the big Swede should prepare himself for a new role this season.

Owen on Ibra's quick recovery

On Zlatan's potentially career-ending injury, Owen told Manchester Evening News Sport: "First of all, I take my hat off to Ibrahimovic. I've had the same injury in my career.

"A lot of blood, sweat and tears will have gone into that rehab. For him to grit his teeth, and say this is not going to retire me - that takes a lot of courage to come back."

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The BT Sport pundit continued: "I don't think it's the sort of injury that will affect his game too much and it is great to see him back."

Owen's warning for Zlatan

The former England striker, only a year older than Zlatan, also had a strong warning for Man Utd's new number ten, suggesting that he is no longer a certainty in Jose Mourinho's starting XI.

Owen thinks that Ibrahimovic will spend more time as a substitute this year and will be forced to accept a supporting role, due to the arrival of summer signing Romelu Lukaku.

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"I think he (Ibrahimovic) will do well to get back into the team with Lukaku playing so well," Owen added.

"And you can't imagine them playing together too much. But it gives Mourinho another option - and what a great option to have."

Is Owen right?

So, Owen thinks Zlatan can expect a new role at Man Utd season, but there are a number of ways in which he and Lukaku can both play in the same team.

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Mourinho likes to adopt a three-at-the-back formation in the big matches, and that is a shape which allows Man United to field two centre-forwards.

In a 4-2-3-1 system, Ibrahimovic could line up behind Lukaku in the number ten role, and if that wasn't enough, they were both on the pitch together for the closing stages against Newcastle.

Of course, Zlatan's Man Utd return just happened to coincide with Lukaku ending his eight-game goal drought for the club, as he registered his 12th of the campaign.

Do YOU think Ibrahimovic will have a big role to play for Man Utd this season? Share YOUR opinion in the comments box below!

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Topics:
Jose Mourinho
Michael Owen
Manchester United
Premier League
Romelu Lukaku
Football
Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Paris Saint-Germain

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