Newcastle's Owen happy to grab late winner

Michael Owen was delighted to swoop for Newcastle United's late winner against Wigan in yesterday's 1-0 victory.

With national boss Steve McClaren watching from the stands at St James' Park, the 27-year-old headed past Chris Kirkland three minutes from time after earlier passing up four good opportunities to claim his second goal in as many games and his first in the league on Tyneside since September 2005.

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Owen said: "It's always pleasing to play 90 minutes and score a goal to win the game. That's what you play football for.

"We kept going to the end and I managed to nick in front of the defender - that's what I work on in training all week, trying to time my runs, and thankfully I did that to perfection at the end."

Manager Sam Allardyce was delighted with Owen's contribution, a sentiment which will also extend to McClaren.

Allardyce said: "Steve was here today and was here last Wednesday and I think he will be feeling quietly confident now that Michael's match-fitness has improved immensely over the last two or three weeks with all the games he has now played in.

"We just both hope he stays clear from injury, and we have seen his finishing qualities.

"He got us off the mark against Barnsley and he got us the win today - and it appears Michael Owen's goals are always important goals as well, that's the most important thing.

"He's not scoring the fourth when we are 3-0 up, he scoring the goal that wins us the game or scoring the goal that draws us a match.

"Steve could look forward to him playing for England and hopefully they do very well and he gets a couple of goals in the qualifiers.

"He is certainly looking good enough now for that, and I hope he does it."

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