Michael Owen has been training with the Manchester United squad for over 3 weeks now and he will be available for selection for the busy festive period.
It’s always a welcome boost to any club having a fit and firing Michael Owen in your squad, but with the striking options Manchester United possess, where will he fit in or who will Michael Owen replace?
Despite his much reported lack of recent form, Wayne Rooney has quite rightly always been the number one striker on the team sheet and Sir Alex Ferguson regularly opts to use Rooney as the lone striker against the ‘big’ teams which is no help to Owen. Rooney looks fitter, sharper and it will only be a short time until he is back to his best. After all, world class players don’t lose their talent over night.
Dimitar Berbatov often partners Rooney and has been on top form so far this season. He is top of the scoring charts with 11 goals including a hat trick against rivals Liverpool and five, yes 5 against Blackburn Rovers at Old Trafford.
Add Javier ‘Chicarito’ Hernandez to the list and Michael Owen’s chances of getting a run in the team look slim. The talented young Mexican has had a dream start to his United carear scoring on his competitive debut in the Community Shield against top quality opposition Chelsea. He also scored the winner at the Mestalla in the Champions League against Valencia, not to mention a brace against Stoke City including that remarkable header. In total Chicarito’s scored 7 goals in 18 United games– quite a good record for such a young, inexperienced striker.
Federico ‘Kiko’ Macheda is another one Owen has to fight against for a starting berth. Macheda has in truth not done much since he burst onto the scene so memorably against Aston Villa at the age of 17. However, he did score an important goal against Villa again this season in the thrilling comeback in which we snatched what turned out to be a vital point. Fergie will no doubt want to give more playing time to another young striker.
We must not forget on loan duo Danny Welbeck and Mame Biram Diouf who have been making headlines at other clubs. Welbeck in particular has been on top form for Fergie’s friend Steve Bruce. Welbeck is on a hot streak at the moment scoring against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the surprising 3 – 0 win. He also scored the winner against Bolton and a brace in the 2 -2 draw with Everton. He has combined and developed well with Darren Bent and Asamoah Gyan in a three pronged Sunderland attack and that certainly bodes well for his future at Old Trafford.
Back in the North West, one of Blackburn’s Diouf’s has been gaining vital experience in the top flight. Mame Biram Diouf has been arguably one of Rovers’ most potent scoring threats with 7 goals in 16 games – it doesn’t take a genius to work out that’s more than a goal every other game! Diouf’s only 24 and has a phenomenal goal scoring record so far in his short career scoring 31 goals in 74 appearances. Mame Diouf looks like a certain young Didier Drogba. He possess deceptive pace, strength and height, however he has a long way to go to live up to such a name.
Fergie will have a tough job giving Michael Owen and the rest of his strikers enough minutes on the pitch, but with the busy festive fixtures approaching and with postponed games set to mount up, the United chief will need as many options as possible. As well all know, give a fit Michael Owen a chance and he will take it – something Fergie can’t possibly afford to forget.