25/02/2011 10:23, Report by Ben Hibbs

Owen is our secret weapon

Competition for places and injuries have conspired against Michael Owen this season, but the 31-year-old striker is being tipped by Sir Alex to perform a crucial role for United in the run-in.

Owen is likely to feature in the first-team squad for the game at Wigan Athletic on Saturday after a training ground injury forced the striker to miss the Reds' midweek trip to Marseille. He has scored four goals in only 13 appearances this term, three of those in his four starts for the Reds. And it is Owen’s unquestionable predatory instincts that lead United’s manager to count on him as something of a secret weapon.

“Michael makes me feel guilty at times when I pick my other strikers because he is a senior player and time is obviously not on his side like it is for Chicharito and the other youngsters who make up our squad,” Sir Alex said recently.

“He is going to be a very valuable player as the season ticks on and hopefully we take on board matches in the other competitions. It will be an opportunity to give him pitch time.

“Michael has never let me down and is a phenomenal player around the box. I sense he is going to be a key man between now and the end of the season.”

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