Football - Owen has nothing to prove - Pulis

Stoke manager Tony Pulis insists striker Michael Owen does not have to prove himself to anyone despite an injury-troubled season.

PA Sport

The former England international has made just six appearances for the Potters since joining on a free transfer in September and, with his contract expiring at the end of the season, speculation is already linking him with a move in the summer.

However, he came off the bench to score his first goal for the club in Saturday's 3-1 defeat at Swansea and could be in contention for his first start in the FA Cup against Manchester City this weekend.

Niggling injuries may have restricted the 33-year-old to just 111 minutes of first-team football this season but now the striker is fit Pulis hopes to see the best of him.

"He has no point to prove to me or the players," said the Potters boss. "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."

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