Stoke manager Tony Pulis has insisted that Michael Owen has nothing to prove despite his injury-ravaged season.
The former England striker has been restricted to just six appearances since he joined the Potters on a free transfer in September.
He has been linked with another move when his contract expires at the end of the season, but he came off the bench to net his first goal for Stoke in their 3-1 defeat at Swansea on Saturday.
"He has no point to prove to me or the players," said Pulis. "Michael is Michael and he just wants to do it for himself as much as anyone else and you always want - and need - that.
"We think he is a good lad around the place and he's had injuries which have held him back. He gives us the quality you need. Coming off the bench and scoring a goal would have given him a real boost.
"Irrespective of whether you are Michael Owen or one of the younger players in the group, confidence is a major factor in professional football.
"I was pleased Michael came on and scored a good goal. He did well when he came on.
"I came in to the dressing room afterwards and asked whether it went straight in from Cameron (Jerome) and to see his face was a picture."