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Pulis: Owen signing no gamble

Stoke City manager Tony Pulis believes Michael Owen still has the ability to sign off in style at the club and ease their relegation concerns.

• Brewin: Too much, too soon

• Payne: Owen ruined childhood dream

• Whittaker: Owen calls it a day

Owen announced that he is to retire at the end of the season on Tuesday, but Pulis still stands by his move last summer to gamble on the former England international.

The striker's farewell season in the Premier League has been a disappointing one, with just seven appearances and one goal since his decision to move to the Britannia Stadium on a free transfer last August, after being released by Manchester United.

The Potters boss, though, is convinced Owen can go out with a bang and add to his 150 Premier League goals before the end of the season, vindicating his decision to offer the 33-year-old a basic deal of less than £20,000-a-week.

"It was a gamble, but I think he was worth the gamble. With eight games to go, I'm hoping he can be involved, as an impact player from the bench, and scoring goals," Pulis said.

"On the question of his pay, his basic pay is low, in fact lower than most of the younger players in the group here. The fact he picked up injuries early on have affected his chances with us."

During the time Pulis has spent working with Owen his admiration for the striker has only increased.

"When you see all the media speculation and intrusion he has to put up with, I wouldn't want his life for all the money in China," Pulis said. "The way he handles it and gets on with his life is absolutely fantastic."

Stoke chairman Peter Coates has also backed the decision to gamble on Owen this season.

"We thought it was worth a try. You could say it hasn't worked out, but we are not complaining," he said. "It was the sort of thing where if he had got five or six goals after being used periodically, then that would have been worth it. The deal was a sensible one. I am not discussing what he's on, but the fact is we were satisfied with the deal."

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