Injury has restricted Owen to just 11 appearances this season in which he has scored 4 goals, the latest being in the last round of the FA Cup against Southampton where he got the ball rolling in United’s come from behind 2-1 victory.
This isn’t the first time Owen has picked up an injury at an inconvenient time, last season his injury against Aston Villa in the Carling Cup couldn’t have come at a worst time and you can’t help but think that had he been fit in the title run in he could have softened the blow of Rooney’s absence and perhaps we may have done better in games like the draw against Blackburn.
It is likely that Owen would have featured in Saturday’s game against Crawley at Old Trafford but now injury has ruled him out could it open the door for youngster Josh King to step in and make an appearance?
Josh King was given a run out against Wolves last season in the League Cup and didn’t look out of place in his 10 minute cameo and a year later he may be in line for a second appearance for the first team.
King has always been rated in United circles and never had problems scoring goals at academy level before making the step up to reserve level with equal aplomb. He has had niggling injuries but it hasn’t massively hampered his development, evident with his loan at Preston this season which started well before a spell in the physio room slowed him down, limiting him to 9 appearances. But as we have seen since his return to the club, the spell as Deepdale hasn’t slowed him down as he now has 8 goals in 5 appearances.
Performing on the big stage will always aid in the development of young players and with Jack Wilshere’s performance against Barca in mind, you feel that if he is to have a future at Old Trafford then it is games like this he should be playing in. The circumstances appear perfect for it; his form in the reserves, the injury to Owen plus both Welbeck and Macheda being out on loan would make it seem that King is naturally in line for some sort of involvement in Saturday’s game.
A home tie against non league Crawley would be ideal for King to continue his development. 2 goals in his last game against Oldham means he will be firmly in Sir Alex’s thoughts and if he does get a chance on Saturday it will be well deserved. We have a wealth of talent in reserve and as we saw with Macheda against Villa 2 seasons ago all it takes is one chance to throw your name into the mix, I would hope King get his chance on Saturday.