Tony Pulis admits Michael Owen is 'desperate to get going' after the striker made a brief debut for Stoke City against Manchester City.
Owen joined the Potters earlier this month following his summer departure from Manchester United and was introduced late on in Saturday's 1-1 draw against Premier League champions City.
Potters boss Pulis has been pleased with the 32-year-old in training, but suggested Owen is not yet ready to start a game.
Pulis said: "Michael has trained ever so well over the last couple of days. He is desperate to get going.
"But he needs a lot more football. He has done a lot of work by himself, fitness-wise, but playing games is a lot different from just running."
Steven Nzonzi and Charlie Adam also made their first starts for Stoke against City and Pulis expects further improvement once all the squad have had significant time to train together, something the recent international break has prevented so far.
Pulis said: "I think we will get better. It will be nice to have them next week and work with them.
"We gave the ball away too many times but we've got better technical players in.
"We still need to retain our commitment and organisation but we have to retain the ball better when we do get it. There were times when we were giving it away too cheaply."