"It is very difficult to find the kind quality Michael Owen gives you," said Eriksson.
"There are very few like him across the whole of Europe.
"He has been important for every team he has played for and will continue to be so as long as he plays football.
"So often I have been sat on the bench thinking the team is not playing well, then, bang, after 80 minutes, there is the winning goal.
"He can score from absolutely nowhere. He moves into space at exactly the right time and while he should not score with his head, he does it, which means he is very clever because he cannot go fighting with centre-halves.
"Even sitting on the bench at Real Madrid, he always seemed to score when he came on. You just do not find players like that very easily."
Owen's fitness problems should certainly make life easier for City's defence this weekend. But, much like his attitude when it became apparent another of his former players, Wayne Rooney, would miss the Manchester derby, there is a tinge of regret in Eriksson's voice at the striker's present problems.
"I really hope Michael gets fit and starts to play football again. That is what he loves," said the Swede.
"He is still only 26, so he has a lot of years left in his career but over the last 18 months or so, he has been very unlucky.
"I know him well and he is a really nice lad. I was so happy for him when he played well for both England and Newcastle recently."