Is it time for Michael Owen to drop down the leagues?
Michael Owen should leave Stoke City for first-team football elsewhere
At the age of 33 Michael Owen should be looking to play as many games as possible. His career may not be over soon but he is now almost certainly entering the final years of his time as a professional footballer.
Owen has had an illustrious career since signing his first professional contract back in 1996. He is the fifth highest scorer of all time for England and is one of only eight players to have scored 150 Premier League goals.
However, more recently, during spells at Manchester United, and now Stoke City, Owen has been restricted to limited appearances because of injury. Also managers, when Owen has been fit, have preferred to use him from the bench as an impact player.
Playing reserve team football, training or making fleeting appearances will not help Owen regain his match fitness. He would be better served moving to the Championship and playing regularly, if his fitness permits.
Owen has made a successful career outside football, investing his earnings in horse racing and property. Money is not an issue for the player so dropping down to the Championship, and the inevitable drop in wages, should not affect him.
Because, the thing is, he's still got a lot to offer and there would be clubs queuing up to take on the former England international. Although not as quick as he once was Owen still has pace and has a strikers predatory instinct which is tough to coach.
He will never lose the knack of scoring goals and that is invaluable to any side. He just needs to gain that all important match fitness and sharpness. His career still has a long way to go.
The question has to be whether Owen still has the desire to play football. He has been playing at such a high level for a number of years and his England career is undoubtedly over now. Will he just go through the motions for the remainder of his career or will he look for a fresh challenge?
The Championship could be that challenge if he so wishes.
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