Sir Alex Ferguson's decision to leave Rooney out of his starting line-up to face Real Madrid could have major consequences for the striker's United career.
In the past, when Ferguson has left big name players out of high-profile matches, it has proved to be the signal they are surplus to requirements and were to be shipped out at the earliest available opportunity.
David Beckham and Ruud van Nistelrooy were both dispensed with in such fashion, while Roy Keane and Jaap Stam discovered that big reputations count for little when Ferguson reaches a significant conclusion.
"For Rooney not to start is a real kick in the teeth and it's got to be a big worry for him," Owen told TalkSPORT.
"It's the biggest game of the season and the manager has shuffled his pack and not included him.
"Wayne will take it one of two ways.
"He will either get his head down, try to improve and force his way back into the team, or he'll think, `The manager has not picked me for the biggest game, he obviously doesn't fancy me', and it might not be the end of the story."