Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Owen continues to settle in at Manchester United

Michael Owen

Manchester United are breaking Michael Owen in gently at Old Trafford following his surprise free transfer move from Newcastle in the summer.

Owen marked his return to the starting XI at Barnsley, after being on the bench against Liverpool, with his third goal of the season in the Carling Cup victory.

It now remains to be seen whether he will retain his place tomorrow when United return to league business.

Blackburn are next up at Old Trafford and assistant manager Mike Phelan is pleased with Owen's progress.

He said: “Michael has come to Manchester United as it a fresh challenge for him. We can use him as and when we need to use him. He is not at the forefront of everything.

“It gives him time to prepare and be ready for games like Barnsley. Alternatively we can bring him on as substitute or start him in a first team game.”

Phelan believes Owen's finishing power has not diminished and his goal against Barnsley was a prime example of the striker's art.

“Michael is always looking and always on the move,” said the assistant boss.

“He was quick to take the shot. He got it out of his feet quickly and caught the keeper by surprise.

“That is the quality of Michael Owen and those qualities are of benefit to us.”

Meanwhile, United have submitted a claim of mistaken identity to the Football Association after Fabio da Silva was booked by referee Chris Foy against Barnsley — insiting the offender was his twin brother Rafael.