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Owen still a quality player declares Stoke boss Pulis

Michael Owen may have had an injury prone season, but Stoke boss Tony Pulis insists the former England international has nothing to prove as regards his quality. However, he came off the bench to score his first goal for the club in Saturday's 3-1 defeat at Swansea and could be in contention for his first start in the FA Cup against Manchester City this weekend.

"He has no point to prove to me or the players," said the Potters chief.

"Michael is Michael and he just wants to do it for himself as much as anyone else and you always want - and need - that.

"We think he is a good lad around the place and he's had injuries which have held him back.

"He gives us the quality you need. Coming off the bench and scoring a goal would have given him a real boost.

"Irrespective of whether you are Michael Owen or one of the younger players in the group, confidence is a major factor in professional football.

"I was pleased Michael came on and scored a good goal. He did well when he came on.

"I came in (to the dressing room) afterwards and asked whether it went straight in from Cameron (Jerome) and to see his face was a picture."

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Dave Williams

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