Newcastle boss Keegan confident 2-goal Owen will stay

Newcastle United boss Kevin Keegan was full of praise for two-goal Michael Owen after their 2-0 derby victory over Sunderland.

Keegan is still intent on beating the club's lowest Premier League points total of 43 - this victory took them to 42.

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Then he will turn his attention to building for a brighter future, and key in that will be Owen's retention beyond the confines of his current deal, which runs out at the end of next season.

Keegan remains confident that he will stay, although Owen himself was diplomatic when asked about his contractual situation.

He told Sky Sports: "Talks haven't begun yet. The manager has pulled me to one side and said he wanted me to stay and the club would be in touch soon, and that's where we stand.

"I haven't spoken to the club yet, but obviously I would think in the close season, then maybe they will approach me or my advisor."

If it has anything to do with Keegan, who has left the matter in the hands of chairman Chris Mort, that will happen sooner rather than later.

He said: "I think he will (stay) because Michael likes it here and we want him here, so there's two good reasons, and I can't think of any better ones.

"He is the most important signing, I think, and then we can look at bringing, I have said, three or four players in to change this around.

"We have got a good squad here, a quality squad, but we are small.

"But he is a key player, he is a leader. He leads by example, which is the best way to lead.

"He is 28 years of age, he scored another two goals today.

"It is the first time he has had a run here, it is the first time the fans have seen the real Michael Owen, and they like him.

"He never had a chance before with his injuries."

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