Michael Owen: 'I have not lost my passion for football'

© PA Photos
Stoke City striker Michael Owen rejects suggestions that he has lost his passion for football.

Stoke City striker Michael Owen has insisted that he remains as "hungry" as ever for success.

Some have suggested that the 32-year-old has lost his passion for the game and has his mind elsewhere, an accusation the former Liverpool and Real Madrid striker strongly rejects.

"People evolve," Owen is quoted as saying by Soccernet. "Long gone are the days when I have little else in my life other than football. I'm now happily married and have the small task of bringing up four children.

"Inevitably, taking on these responsibilities requires a certain amount of time and effort but does that necessarily mean I have taken my eye off the ball when it comes to plying my trade? Absolutely not!

"Why did I get the urge to justify my actions? Because it feels like a slur on my character and integrity to hear people questioning my desire."

Owen further stressed that he has always tried his best to overcome his injury problems over the years.

"Nature has dictated I am no longer the player I once was," he said. "It's got nothing to do with dedication, hunger or desire.

"Due to the nature of my injuries, I have had to reinvent myself and the way I play. No longer can I sprint 100 times in a game at lightning speed. I have had to adapt. But I believe my greatest achievement is to still be playing at the highest level after all the injuries.

"When the time comes to hang up my boots, I won't be sitting around wondering what to do next. But, until then, I am as hungry as I've ever been to succeed in the game."

Owen joined Stoke on a one-year contract on a free transfer last month.

Michael Owen, Ashley Cole
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