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.”