Owen prepared for Stoke fight

Striker is 'singing from the same hymn sheet' as Potters boss Pulis

Michael Owen: Prepared to work hard to play a part at Stoke

Michael Owen admits he does not expect it to be easy to win a place in the Stoke side.

After a summer of speculation, the former England striker has finally signed for the Potters following his release by Manchester United at the end of last season.

Question marks remain over the fitness of the 32-year-old after an injury-blighted spell at Old Trafford and Owen acknowledges that he will have to work hard to figure at the Britannia Stadium.

He told the club's official website: "There are many strikers at the club, I'm not expecting it to be an easy ride.

"I know how I feel but in many ways I'm unsure in terms of exactly what stage I'm at compared to the rest of the squad."

Michael Owen

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"I'll have to work, obviously, to play any part. I'm prepared to do that.

"There are a lot of top players at the club, so I'm hopefully going to fit in well with the squad and have a good season."

Confusion

The former Real Madrid man's move to Stoke was announced on Tuesday and eventually ratified by the Premier League on Wednesday after some confusion over his place in the club's 25-man squad.

But despite the last-gasp nature of the deal, Owen has revealed talks began with Stoke boss Tony Pulis early in the summer.

Owen added: "I met the manager two or three months ago. We were singing from the same hymn sheet in many ways.

"It is important to have a healthy respect for your manager and understand what he wants and different things. I feel as if I'll get that here with Tony Pulis.

"We had a good chat and it's just a shame it took a few months after that before I signed.

"But anyway, we're here now and I'm looking forward to it."

Fans delighted with Owen

Stoke are next in action when champions Manchester City visit the Britannia Stadium in the Premier League on 15th September with high-profile trips to Chelsea and Liverpool soon after.

And Owen confesses he has no idea how fit he is in relation to his new team-mates.

Unsure

He said: "I know how I feel but in many ways I'm unsure in terms of exactly what stage I'm at compared to the rest of the squad.

"They've had a long pre-season, so it might turn out when I do a few tests that I'm quite a bit behind or it might be that I'm further forward than I thought - I just don't know.

"I'll have some tests over the next few days and gauge where I am, and hopefully I'll be out there as soon as possible."

After a career spent playing for some of the most famous clubs in the world, a new challenge at Stoke may appear a somewhat low-key move for the former European footballer of the year.

But Owen believes he has joined a team that is on the up.

He added: "Looking from outside, Stoke have done particularly well since the introduction to the Premier League, regularly coming mid-table, give or take a few places.

"I think everyone's objectives at the start of the season - unless you are Man Utd, Chelsea etc - is to get 40 points as soon as you can and to secure your status, and then for a club on the up like this, to try to aim as high as possible."