Owen - I want to play all time
Striker believes he still has a lot to offer
By Nick Hext. Last Updated: September 21, 2011 9:15am
Michael Owen says he wants to "play all the time" after his double helped Manchester United beat Leeds 3-0 in the third round of the Carling Cup on Tuesday night.
The striker marked his first start of the season with two goals in the comfortable victory at Elland Road.
Owen has found himself down the pecking order at Old Trafford but he is hoping his record of 11 goals from his last 12 starts could lead to a more prominent first-team role.
"I'm not content if I'm not playing," he told reporters after the Elland Road contest.
"I get criticised a lot with things like 'you don't play, you pick your money up' and all the rest of it but I'm not proud of that fact.
"I want to play all the time."
Owen hopes for a repeat of his first season at Old Trafford when he featured in 31 league and cup games but he is realistic about his chances due to the strength of United's squad.
"If the season was going to be like the first season I was here then I'd be delighted," added Owen.
"That was fantastic and I felt involved. I was always either on the bench or playing.
"Obviously I want to be involved again but I appreciate that there's some top players in the team and in the squad and it's a challenge to get on the bench let alone into the first team."
The 31-year-old admits he felt pressure before the game against Leeds - his first appearance of the campaign for the Red Devils - and he was delighted to use his chance to once again prove the doubters wrong.
"The best players in the world can have a bad game and if I have a bad game tonight you can see the criticism before it even starts," continued Owen.
"That negative thought is definitely in the back of your mind going into games because you can't put it right in three or four days' time like most other players that play all the time.
"The pressure's on and thankfully every time I have started I've managed to quieten those people before they chirp up."
Owen is confident he stll has a lot to offer and he would be delighted if he could build on the one-year contract extension he penned with the Premier League champions in the summer.
"I believe I've got a few years left in me and I'd love it to be at Man United."
Michael Owen on staying at Manchester United Quotes of the week
"I believe I've got a few years left in me and I'd love it to be at Man United," noted Owen.
"For that to happen I've got to be involved because the manager wouldn't want me sitting round and I wouldn't want to sit round if I wasn't part of the squad or part of things.
"As we stand now we've been playing four or five weeks of the season. We've only had one game a week so he hasn't rotated anyone really.
"You could count all the players out there today and not many of them have had much action so hopefully now the season is under way and we're playing twice a week the whole squad and not just me will get more of a chance."
As for a possible return to the England fold, Owen is not letting himself worry about the subject.
"I've got to play and score goals first so let's cross that bridge when it comes to it," concluded Owen.