"I'm not injury prone," declares fit again Owen
Newcastle United striker Michael Owen has insisted he is not injury prone as he makes his latest return from a spell on the sidelines.
The 29-year-old has started only 53 Premier League games for the Magpies in almost four years, though he has notched 26 goals at a ratio of almost one every other game.
On Saturday against Hull he made his latest return from injury after a six-week lay-off following a knock picked up against Manchester City at the end of January. His current deal at St James' Park runs out at the end of the season and it is as yet unclear whether or not he will commit his future to the club.
Despite making so few starts for the relegation-threatened club, the former Liverpool and Real Madrid forward firmly believes his injury ills are down to the decision to travel to the 2006 World Cup in Germany so soon after recovering from a metatarsal break suffered when he collided with Tottenham goalkeeper Paul Robinson.
He believes he would not have had another three years of problems had he stayed in the north east to build up his fitness ahead of the 2006/07 Premier League season.
Owen then suffered a serious knee injury in the opening moments of England's final group game against Sweden. Even so, Owen says he would still travel to the World Cup given the same situation again.
Owen, who was sidelined for 10 months with that knee injury, told The Journal: "There is no hiding from the fact injuries have been the bane of my time at Newcastle.
"It is frustrating. However, and people will probably laugh, but I know I'm not injury-prone.
"If you look at my time at Newcastle, the problems started when Paul Robinson landed on my foot against Tottenham just after Christmas. Loads of people get metatarsal injuries, but they are normally not as bad as mine. Nobody's foot would not have broken in that situation.
"I then rushed my preparations for the World Cup. I played half a game for Newcastle. After being in plaster for so long, my leg was de-conditioned and with hindsight, I should never have gone to Germany with England.
"It's easy to say that now, but if I had my time again, I would still have gone because it was a World Cup. I'm not thinking what could have been, but with hindsight, my leg was half as strong as it should have been.
"Muscles support limbs and I twisted my knee awkwardly and that was it. All that came from someone landing on my foot, so I don't think it's my fault.''
Owen is determined to find his scoring boots straight away. He said: "The one thing I have got a history of is taking one or two games to get into my stride again, but we haven't got time for me to do that.
"Hopefully my eye is in straight away and I start knocking the goals in again immediately.''