Michael Owen: Starting at United might have been a better move
Former Liverpool striker Owen says he could have won more trophies and ended up with fewer injuries had he started with Red Devils
Michael Owen said he might have won more trophies and suffered fewer injuries had he joined Manchester United as a youngster rather than Liverpool, though he has no regrets about starting his career with the Anfield club.
Owen burst on to the scene as a 17-year-old with Liverpool, scoring 158 goals in 297 games for the Reds from 1996 to 2004.
But his career has been blighted by injuries and, in an interview with BBC, he said United's bigger squad may have prevented him from playing too many matches at too young an age.
"I had the choice to join Manchester United when I was a kid but I chose Liverpool. Yes, I could be playing a bit longer, might have had a few more medals in a pocket but who knows?
"I would not swap my time at Liverpool - they were my best years."
The 33-year-old Stoke and ex-England striker said he would call time on his playing days come the finish of the current English campaign.
Owen also had spells with Real Madrid, Newcastle and Manchester United before joining Stoke.
He made the rest of the world sit up and take notice with a superb solo goal for England against Argentina at the 1998 World Cup finals in France - one of 40 in 89 appearances for his country. But injuries limited his appearances.
"I did not have a break for years and years. That is something I would advise young players now to guard against," he said.
Owen came to be regarded as an expensive luxury by many Newcastle fans during his injury-hit spell with the northeast side.
After his BBC interview, Owen went on to Twitter to say he was never offered a new contract by the Magpies, who released a statement to that effect ahead of the 2008/09 season.
Owen joined Newcastle for £17 million from Real Madrid in 2005 but left on a free transfer in 2009 when the club were relegated from the Premier League, joining Manchester United for the following season.
"Newcastle fans, following my Football Focus interview, plenty of you tweeting me saying you don't blame me for getting injured but for leaving when we got relegated," he wrote on Twitter.
"Despite the club saying they did, they didn't ever offer me a new contract despite them putting it in the press that they did," he said.
"How could they when they had just been relegated? It would have been financial suicide.
"I've seen it a million times, a club will blatantly lie to their fans to take the moral high ground, leaving the player with no leg to stand on."
Owen added: "I've taken the stick for years which is fine but you really don't know half of it. All will be revealed one day."
Owen said he planned to continue working as a football pundit and will launch his own management company.
He has also not ruled out moving into football management, if given the opportunity.
"I have not closed the door on management," he said. "I find it hard to say no to people. If someone offers you a good job, I'd think, 'I would love to do that'."
Owen's failure to command a regular starting place at Stoke this season prompted his decision to retire from football, with the forward having so far scored one goal in seven appearances for the Potters this term.