Newcastle United FC striker Michael Owen has played for the first time since the 2006 FIFA World Cup, lasting the full 90 minutes of Monday's Premiership defeat at Reading FC.
Owen, who had damaged knee ligaments in England's World Cup group-stage draw with Sweden last June, started last night's match and had the ball in the net within seven minutes, although an offside flag denied the 27-year-old the glory of a comeback goal. In the event, the only score of the game came from Reading forward Dave Kitson on 51 minutes to secure a victory that lifted the home team into seventh place in the table.
"The plan was to play for an hour, but the game went against us with injuries and we needed a goal," Owen told Newcastle's official website. "I'm probably one of the fittest players we've got at this stage of the season. I felt a big difference in my game, I was able to hold off stronger players and I won a lot of headers." Newcastle signed Owen from Real Madrid CF for €24m in 2005, but the former Liverpool FC prodigy endured an injury-interrupted first campaign in the north-east before sustaining the ligament damage in Germany. Last night's game was just his 12th league appearance for Newcastle for whom he has scored seven goals.
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