Stoke manager Tony Pulis says Michael Owen has nothing to prove, despite struggling to make an impact at the Britannia Stadium.
The former Liverpool, Real Madrid and Manchester United striker has made just six first-team appearances since his arrival in the off-season, but finally got off the mark with a consolation goal in Saturday’s 3-1 defeat to Swansea.
However, Pulis is in no doubt about the qualities the veteran forward brings to the club, and is optimistic that he is ready to put his injury troubles behind him after grabbing that confidence-boosting strike.
“He has no point to prove to me or the players,” Pulis told Sky Sports.
“Michael is Michael and he just wants to do it for himself as much as anyone else and you always want – and need – that.
“We think he is a good lad around the place and he’s had injuries which have held him back. He gives us the quality you need. Coming off the bench and scoring a goal would have given him a real boost.
“Irrespective of whether you are Michael Owen or one of the younger players in the group, confidence is a major factor in professional football.
“I was pleased Michael came on and scored a good goal. He did well when he came on.
“I came in to the dressing room afterwards and asked whether it went straight in from Cameron (Jerome) and to see his face was a picture.”