Owen given Fergie backing

Experienced striker still part of United's plans

Owen: Role to play

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Sir Alex Ferguson has told England striker Michael Owen he has a future at Manchester United.

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"Now he is back fit, Michael will always be considered part of the squad and he will play in some big games"

Sir Alex Ferguson

Quotes of the week

The former Liverpool, Real Madrid and Newcastle front man has failed to make a meaningful contribution this season after another injury-plagued stint for the Red Devils.

Owen came off the bench against Stoke City on Tuesday to make just his eighth appearance of the season and speculation suggests the 31-year-old will not be offered a new deal at Old Trafford when his contract expires in the summer.

But Ferguson insists the striker has a role to play at United, even though the club boast the attacking talents of Wayne Rooney, Dimitar Berbatov and Javier Hernandez, not to mention Danny Welbeck who is on loan at Sunderland.

"Now he is back fit, Michael will always be considered part of the squad and he will play in some big games," said Ferguson, who could start Owen against his former club Liverpool on Sunday.

"I have not spoken to him about next season. There is no need for me to discuss that at the moment.

"He is a terrific player and a role model in the dressing room. He has never missed a session while he has been fit."

Neglected

Owen's fitness made it easier for Ferguson to accept Federico Macheda's request to leave United on loan for the remainder of the season, even if his destination, Sampdoria, was not quite what Ferguson was hoping for.

"Federico feels he has been neglected on the international front," said Ferguson.

"This has given him an opportunity to play in Italy, where they can see him every week.

"We would have preferred him to play in the Premier League and he had opportunities to do that with several clubs.

"But he has made a good case and every player should always want to play for their international team."

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