Owen enjoys maiden Prem crown

Although the 31-year-old collected four major cup winners’ medals
during his eight seasons with Liverpool, then added a Carling Cup
to his collection last term at United, Sunday was the first time he
had been crowned as a league champion. Owen is the first to admit
his contribution; one start, 10 substitute appearances and two
goals, was not really pivotal. However, he has accepted his role as
a squad man with relish and will cherish the medal he collected
after the 4-2 win over Blackpool beyond any other. “They say if you
can’t beat them, join them,” he laughed. “It has been fantastic. I
won a lot of trophies with Liverpool but to win the Premier League
is the pinnacle of anyone’s career.” The fact Owen scored the last
of United’s 78 goals this season and that Park and Anderson also
got their names on the scoresheet at Old Trafford merely emphasises
the all-round effort it has taken to secure a record 19th title.
Owen’s other contribution came in saving a point at Bolton in
October, a further example of someone chipping in at a vital time,
which seems to be what United’s season has been all about.
“Throughout the year, you would look at the team and think certain
players were essential,” he said. “But then they will go out of
form a little bit and someone else will come back from injury. “The
amount of goals that have been spread around the team is fantastic.
“Everyone has played their part, even the ones that have only
played a couple of games.” There is a good chance Owen will never
play a competitive match for United again. His two-year contract
expires after Saturday’s European Cup final, when the best he can
hope for is a place on the bench. Owen has made just two substitute
appearances in the Champions League this term, both of which came
after Ferguson had named a second string starting line-up, so it is
hard to imagine him coming into contention for the Wembley clash
with Barcelona this weekend. He will be fully prepared just in case
though, with the former England frontman relishing what he believes
to be a collision between the best two sides on the planet at
present. “It is a cracking game,” he said. “If you looked at
European football and asked what the ideal final would be, it would
be this. “Barcelona and Manchester United are the best two teams in
the world right now, so it is perfect. “These games don’t come
round every year and we are really looking forward to it.”