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Thursday, September 6, 2012
Pulis: Owen not an impact sub

ESPN staff

Tony Pulis is planning on using new signing Michael Owen on a regular basis and is backing the striker to prove a valuable asset for Stoke City this season.

• Owen Stoke move gets go-ahead

Owen, 32, signed a one-year deal with Stoke on Tuesday and the transfer was ratified by the Premier League 24 hours later to confirm he is part of the club's 25-man squad for the 2012-13 Premier League campaign.

The Englishman made just one league appearance for his former club Manchester United last season but Pulis intends to utilise the forward on a more regular basis during his time at the Britannia Stadium.

He said in the Sun: "Michael's got the bit between his teeth and wants to play. He's more than just an impact sub. We want Michael to get himself fit, in the team and playing regularly again.

"We'll assess his fitness levels over the next three days and take it from there. It's important we see what level he's at before we push him.

"We're delighted with the deal we've got and feel it's well worth taking a chance with a player like Michael for all sorts of reasons.

"We believe, once he's match-fit, that he'll prove he can still score goals in the Premier League.

"People say he played only one Premier League game last season but he was available for a lot more United games but wasn't selected."

The former England striker accepts he won't just walk into the Stoke team, and is willing to work hard to get his chance.

"There are many strikers at the club, I'm not expecting it to be an easy ride. I'll have to work, obviously, to play any part. I'm prepared to do that."

It took lengthy negotiations between the club and player to finally agree a deal, but Owen was impressed with Pulis from the start.

"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," Owen explained.

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