Pre-op Owen vows to return back stronger

September 4, 2006

Newcastle striker Michael Owen headed for surgery in the United States today promising he would make a full recovery from his knee injury.

Specialist Richard Steadman carried out one procedure during the summer to repair the 26-year-old's cartilage and prepare Owen for ligament surgery.

The £17million frontman will undergo an operation to mend his ruptured anterior cruciate ligament in Colorado later this week before starting the long haul back to fitness.

Owen said: 'I will be having the operation done in a couple of days, and I'm confident that with positive thinking, I will be back and as good as ever.

'It's an operation that needs to be done, it's the cruciate as everyone knows, and to be honest, I'm looking forward to it because it is a chink of light for me.'

The England forward's knee was ripped apart in a freak accident just seconds into England's World Cup group match against Sweden in June.

It came just weeks after his return to action for the Magpies following his recovery from a fractured metatarsal.

He has managed just 11 appearances for the club since his move from Real Madrid in August last year, but the seven goals he scored in those games illustrated his quality.

Manager Glenn Roeder may have to do without his star striker for the entire campaign, although Owen is determined to return as quickly as possible.

He told the club's official website: 'I have been basically biding my time since the first operation to prepare for this one and once it is out of the way, I can get on with the rehabilitation.

'At the start of the rehab, it will just be about getting the knee moving and trying to keep up my general fitness, but it will get tougher as I get nearer to a comeback.

'The plan is to get as fit as I can through the rehab so I don't have to play in too many reserve games or practice games, and my obvious aim is to get back into the first team as quickly as I can.'

Owen's absence has been compounded by Alan Shearer's retirement, Shola Ameobi's own fitness concerns and Michael Chopra's departure for Cardiff.

Roeder spent £10million on Nigerian international Obafemi Martins, took Manchester United starlet Giuseppe Rossi on loan and failed with a late bid for Middlesbrough Mark Viduka as he attempted to plug the gap during the summer transfer window.