Fergie - Owen is important

Veteran striker still part of manager's plans

Owen: Still important

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Sir Alex Ferguson has assured striker Michael Owen that he remains an important part of Manchester United's squad.

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Owen started United's 3-1 Community Shield success over Chelsea, but did not feature in their Premier League season-opening victory over Newcastle United.

The former Newcastle, Real Madrid and Liverpool ace, who started just five league games last time around, is now into the final season of his two-year contract at Old Trafford.

There had been fears that Javier Hernandez's summer arrival could hinder Owen's chances even further, although the club's veteran Scottish manager insists he remains part of his plans.

"Michael has no worries about his situation," said Ferguson.

"He is an important member of the first-team squad.

"The development our young players means we'll have about 30 players available.

"I am very comfortable with the situation."

Difficult

Owen has no qualms with being in and out of United's team, although he does feel it is hard to sustain his form and fitness by not being a regular.

"The hardest thing from my view is not playing certain games and then all of a sudden being called up and you are meant to be ready," said Owen.

"You can do lots of work in the gym, but until you play you don't benefit from those movement patterns.

"I felt good in pre-season in Ireland, but not so sharp at Wembley."