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Newcastle boss Keegan: Owen proved class

Keegan said: "A lot of people have been questioning him because he is a big-name player but he won't stop scoring if you give him chances.

"I am delighted to have a player like Michael at the club. His leadership and work-rate has been fantastic."

Newcastle are four points above the drop zone after a run of 13 league games without a win.

Owen's goal against the Blues was only his seventh of an injury-hit campaign but Keegan says he has never had doubts about the 28-year-old.

"He is a clinical finisher and a very clever player," Keegan added. "Michael is top quality and a world class player, make no mistake about that."

The Magpies started the game at St Andrews with Owen playing alongside Mark Viduka and Obafemi Martins and Keegan says he was pleased with how his new frontline performed.

"It went very well," he explained. "I asked Michael to play a bit deeper but he keeps the ball so well and has such great awareness that he could play anywhere.

"I told him that despite the fact he had to come deeper he would still get chances and of course he did."

The draw means Keegan is still without a win in his second stint as Magpies boss but he believes his players are starting to find some form.

"There were some really good performances in Newcastle shirts," Keegan added. "I thought Geremi was outstanding and Nicky Butt and Joey Barton in midfield. They gave us a bit of an engine room.

"They all put in a shift and if they keep doing that we'll be all right."

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Tribal Football Staff

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