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Owen wants to stay with United

Michael Owen is still hoping for a new contract with Manchester United, but has given up hope of winning a recall into Fabio Capello's England squad.

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Owen won his first ever league title this season though he has only been a bit-part player and it is expected Sir Alex Ferguson will release him at the end of his two-year deal this summer. But the former Liverpool, Real Madrid and Newcastle United striker would prefer to stay at Old Trafford.

The 31-year-old, who scored only his second Premier League goal of the season against Blackpool on Sunday, said: "I want to stay because Manchester United is a fantastic club. I have to find out in the coming week or two and I will be speaking to the manager.

"This is an important week so there is no point discussing my future with him now, but we will have a chat after the season is over.''

Owen has made 47 appearances for the Red Devils, mostly as a substitute, scoring a total 13 goals - including a Champions League hat-trick at Werder Bremen. He also started last season's Carling Cup triumph over Aston Villa, although it was a hamstring injury suffered in that game that hampered Owen at the start of this season.

Owen's involvement has been affected by the signing of Javier Hernandez, while Federico Macheda, Mame Biram Diouf and Danny Welbeck are due to return to the club from loan spells for next season.

"You can drop your level and play more regularly in a team that is not of as high a standard as Manchester United. But your level stays high when you are training with top players and you enjoy your football much more when you are playing in a good team,'' Owen explained.

"It depends which side of the coin you look at. I have certainly enjoyed my time here even though I haven't played as much this year and I have still felt part of it. I have played in 11 Premier League games and qualified for a medal and loved every minute of it.''

Owen was full of praise for Hernandez.

"He is a sharper version of what I am now,'' said Owen. "When you buy a player you hope he is going to be a permanent fixture in the team but I don't think anyone could have envisaged it being so soon. The instinctiveness of his play inside the box to sniff out chances is impressive and he is a cracking finisher.

"He has played and scored in the World Cup and in a Champions League semi-final, which would suggest he can handle the big stage. That is important at a club like this.''

Owen has given up hope of being selected for England by Fabio Capello, having not been picked to play for his country since an international friendly against France over three years ago.

He was quoted in the Guardian as saying: "I was disappointed for the first squad I missed, a little bit less for the next one and after about three or four times, I didn't really expect to see my name.

"For the first couple of squads I looked at the players [named] and looked at what I had done. For the last dozen squads, I haven't looked. I don't even think about [being picked] now. Honestly. It's sad, really. If I keep getting up for something, then [find out] I am not in, I am just kidding myself.

"I am not going to kid myself. Every time I saw him I was 'closing on your record, Sir Bobby'. Now I just see him for who he is: a great man.''


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