Carrick gives Owen backing
Michael Owen will continue his goal scoring form and find his way into the England fold according to team mate Michael Carrick
By Danny Wright
Last Updated: 10/12/09 9:08am
Michael Carrick says his Manchester United team-mate Michael Owen will bag more goals following the striker's stunning hat-trick in the 3-1 win over Wolfsburg.
United dispatched the German champions thanks to Owen's treble, despite missing no fewer than 14 senior players.
The win confirmed United's status as Group B winners and provided England manager Fabio Capello with a timely reminder of the 29-year-old's ability ahead of the World Cup finals in South Africa.
The former Liverpool man has been overlooked by Capello since the Italian took charge of the England helm, but Carrick has backed his colleague to continue scoring - and fire his way back into the international fold.
England take on Egypt in a friendly on 3rd March as preparation for this summer's tournament before Capello's provisional squad is announced - giving Owen just under three months to impress the Three Lions boss.
"It was a great achievement," Carrick said. "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.
"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."
Owen has scored just seven times since his arrival at Old Trafford in the summer and his hat-trick was his first in the Champions League since 2003.
He opened the scoring with a close-range header from Nani's cross, before cancelling out Edin Dzeko's goal for the home side with two strikes in the last seven minutes.
And Carrick believes his team mate can continue his scoring form as United look to defend their Premier League crown.
"Strikers like scoring goals and hopefully it will give him an extra bit of confidence, not that he needed it," Carrick added.
"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."
Midfielder Carrick was thrust into an unfamiliar position at the heart of the defence in the win, and the 28-year-old admitted he enjoyed the experience against 6' 4" striker Dzeko.
He may find his time at centre-half prolonged despite Sir Alex Ferguson's injury crisis showing signs of abating.
Aston Villa face the champions at Old Trafford this weekend in what should be a difficult encounter for United but they will be boosted by the return of flu-stricken Nemanja Vidic.
Ferguson should also have Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov and Ryan Giggs back in the ranks to give his side attacking options.
But Wes Brown is unlikely to have recovered from the hamstring injury and Rio Ferdinand, John O'Shea and Jonny Evans have been ruled out until January, meaning Carrick could partner Serbian Vidic.
United have been linked with former Notts County defender Sol Campbell, although a lack of match fitness - the former Pompey man has played just once since leaving the South Coast club - will scupper any immediate solutions to the injury problems.
"I have never headed the ball as much," Carrick said. "It is not the physical side that is hard about playing centre-half, it is the mental.
"You need to maintain concentration and focus at all times. I just put myself in the right positions and hoped for the best.
"We rode our luck at times but, as a back three, I thought we played well."
He added: "It might be the end for me. It will be assessed later in the week when we see what the body count is like."