MICHAEL OWEN believes he is ready to be thrust back in to the Premier League spotlight after four weeks of rigorous training with his new teammates . . . but says he is more than happy to bide his time whilst the side are performing so well.
The England international has been working intensively with the Club’s coaching staff during the opening month of his Britannia Stadium career, building up his fitness levels following his high profile move during the summer.
Whilst the 32-year-old hasn’t yet started a game for the Potters, he has already undertaken a baptism of fire having featured from the bench against league Champions Manchester City and European Cup winners Chelsea.
Acknowledging that he would love for that first start to come against former Club Liverpool on Sunday, he admits that he fully understands Tony Pulis’ decision if he is again named amongst the substitutes at Anfield.
“I feel ready now, in fact I am in a very good place, both mentally and physically,” he said in the build up to the game. “But, the team are doing extremely well so I don’t expect to walk straight into the team.
“I have worked hard throughout the summer, and I have worked equally as hard with the fitness guys here since I arrived at the Club, so I am getting nearer to a position where I feel like I am at my best.
“I knew it would probably take me three or four weeks to get back into the swing of things again, in terms of kicking a ball amongst a group of players again, and getting my touch back to the levels I want it to be at – things which are probably unnoticeable to the naked eye.”
He added: “I am feeling good though like I said and I’m loving every minute of my time here. It’s a long season and I know that my chance will come along at some point. There is great competition for places here so if and when I do get in, I know I have to perform.”
Tony Pulis is expected to name an unchanged side for Sunday’s clash having praised his side’s performance levels during last weekend’s opening victory of the 2012/13 campaign against Swansea City.
Owen admits to being as equally as impressed as Pulis by the Potters’ showing during his time in the Potteries, citing leading goal-scorer Peter Crouch, who scored twice against the Swans, as the lynchpin to the side’s success.
“He is a top, top footballer, and the fact that he has so many goals on the international stage just demonstrates the qualities that Peter has in his locker,” he smiled.
“We utilise him fully here and centre the way we play around his biggest strengths, which undoubtedly works incredibly well for us.
“On top of that he is a top lad too, and very level-headed, but that isn’t just Peter though, everybody here has been incredibly welcoming to me and the group of lads we have within the dressing room really are a top bunch. I know you here that a lot but I genuinely mean it.”
OwenTickets for the clash remain on general sale to Stoke City supporters from the Britannia Stadium Ticket Office up until 5pm today.