Fergie keeps Owen at United

Owen’s present two-season deal was about to expire and, having been

overshadowed by Javier Hernandez last season and knowing new

signings were expected – in addition to the return of Danny Welbeck

from Sunderland, it was anticipated the former England striker

would be released. However, Ferguson evidently still views the

31-year-old as an important member of his squad. “Michael has

proved to be a top footballer,” said Ferguson. “It is unfortunate

that he did not get more opportunities but the form of Chicharito

(Hernandez) put everyone in the shade and his partnership with

Rooney proved invaluable. “I am delighted Michael is staying for a

further year and we will look to give him more opportunities in the

new season.” The last of Owen’s two league goals closed a record

19th title-winning campaign for the Red Devils, and earned him a

championship medal for the first time. It was also enough to earn

him a place on the bench ahead of Dimitar Berbatov for Saturday’s

Champions League final, although he did not play a part in United’s

3-1 defeat. “I am delighted to have agreed a one-year extension to

my contract,” said Owen. “To play alongside so many great players,

under an exceptional manager, and in front of so many passionate

supporters is a real inspiration. “I can’t wait for next season to

start.” The news casts an even greater shadow over Berbatov’s

United career, though. The Bulgarian was tight-lipped when he

returned home on Tuesday but it is difficult to see what role he

could play unless Ferguson opts to unload Welbeck, who gained his

first England cap against Ghana in March.