Owen ready for Champions League hurrah

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Manchester, May 25: Michael Owen announced his arrival on the world stage with a memorable solo strike at the 1998 World Cup. Now the Manchester United striker is hoping that "the one big goal" he may yet conjure up this season will arrive against Barcelona at Wembley.

Thirteen years have passed since the 18-year-old Owen carved his way through Argentina's defence before finishing with a composure that belied his age.

The passage of time and a cruel injury record have long since stripped Owen of the electrifying speed which once terrorised Argentina, but the 31-year-old showed his finisher's instincts remained sharp when he came on to score United's fourth in the 4-2 win over Blackpool at the weekend.

While Owen will not start against Barcelona, the former Liverpool and England striker is hopeful that he could have a role to play if called upon.

Owen remains realistic about the possibility of book-ending his wonder-goal in St-Etienne with another similarly important strike on Saturday.

"I'd love it to be. But I've got to get on the bench first before I can get on the pitch," Owen told reporters at United's training complex.

"It's such a good squad here so we'll see. But if I was on the bench and I was brought on that would obviously be what I want to do," he added.


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