MICHAEL OWEN admitted to feeling like an excited school starter as he expressed happiness at being able to finally link up with his new Stoke City team-mates today.
The England striker likened his fresh start in football with the Potters to his daughter’s first day at school as he reported to the Clayton Wood Training Ground after his move was rubber-stamped when the Premier League ratified his registration on Wednesday.
“It’s been a long summer, but I’m delighted and excited to be here,” he said when he spoke exclusively to Stoke City Player before his first training session.
“I was taking my son back to school today, and one of my daughters was going to school for the first time, so I said to them ‘It’s like we’re all going to school for the first day today!’
“That’s certainly how it feels when you’re meeting a lot of new people. It’s only normal though, I’ve done it before and many players have done it before.
“It will take me a while to meet everyone and to bed in, but I’m certainly looking forward to it.”
The 32-year-old former Liverpool and Manchester United star has been training hard at home, but admits that he won’t know himself how close he is to match fitness until he’s been fully assessed by the Club’s coaching staff over the next few days.
“I know how I feel, but in many ways, I’m unsure in terms of exactly what stage I’m at compared to the rest of the squad,” he added.
“They’ve had a long pre-season, so it might turn out when I do a few tests that I’m quite a bit behind or it might be that I’m further forward than I thought – I just don’t know.
“I’ll have some tests over the next few days and gauge where I am, and hopefully I’ll be out there as soon as possible.”
Owen is particularly looking forward to playing in front of the Britannia Stadium crowd – an atmosphere he described as one of ‘noisiest’ he’s played in.
“If you speak to any football fans or players around the country, when you talk about the best atmospheres you’d have to say the Britannia Stadium is up there,” he said.
“Obviously, they don’t get 70,000 here, but it’s full every week and pound-for-pound is definitely one of the noisiest in the country.
“I can only speak for when I’ve played here, but it’s always been like that then. That’s certainly part of the challenge for me here and something I’m looking forward to.”
*You can see the full interview with Michael Owen on Stoke City Player. To subscribe for this service, go to www.player.stokecityfc.com.