Premier League

Pulis: No regrets over Owen deal

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Thu, 28 Mar 2013 19:24:00

Stoke boss Tony Pulis insists he has no regrets about bringing Michael Owen to the club.

Owen, who has scored once in a Potters career that to date has amounted to only six substitute appearances and one start, announced last week that he is to retire from playing at the end of the season.

Since joining at the start of the campaign, the 33-year-old striker - previously a free agent following his release by Manchester United - has yet again spent plenty of time recovering from injuries, while on several occasions when he has been deemed fit enough to be selected for the match-day squad, he has subsequently been left on the bench.

Nonetheless, Pulis claims Owen has been a "great signing" for Stoke.

Asked if he had any sense of regret over recruiting the former England international, Pulis said: "Not at all. He has been fantastic around the place.

"He has been a great signing - if you look at it financially, it has been a great deal for the football club in lots of respects.

"Michael was really unlucky at the beginning of the season, picking up those couple of injuries.

"If he had got through that and pushed on, then we might be talking about different things now. But it is what has happened to Michael over the past few years."

When it was suggested to him that Owen could still play an important role for goal-shy Stoke this term, Pulis added: "We are desperate for him to be involved and be a part of it, and hopefully he can do that."

Pulis has no doubt that Owen's career as a whole - which saw him play for Liverpool, Real Madrid and Newcastle before United and Stoke, and score 40 goals in 89 full international caps - has been "fantastic".

And he is wishing the frontman well in whatever he chooses to do next.

"I was fortunate enough to be at St Etienne when England played Argentina and Michael scored that great goal (in the 1998 World Cup)," Pulis said.

"From there to here, he has had a fantastic career. What he has to do now is put that behind him and decide what he is going to do in the future, and make sure he gives everything to that and is really positive going into it.

"He'll find it difficult not playing, without a question of a doubt - every footballer that has to hang his boots up will get that passion to want to go and play again.

"But Michael has to decide what he wants to do and then I'm sure he will give it his best, and that will be good enough, whatever career he goes into - whether it is coaching, management, if he wants to be an agent, a horse owner, whatever."

Asked if he might try to dissuade Owen from becoming a manager, Pulis joked: "I think he is too sensible to do that!"

Meanwhile, Pulis has expressed his disappointment at reports that he is considering his position.

Stoke, 11th in the table, head into Saturday's Barclays Premier League match at Everton having won only once in their last 11 top-flight fixtures.

Discontent among Potters fans has been evident of late in boos coming from the stands, and it was reported last week that Pulis was thinking about possibly leaving the club this summer.

When asked about that today, he said: "It is just very, very disappointing.

"It is international fortnight, things are pretty quiet and it is something that fills a back-page or an inside page."

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