Stoke striker Owen: Critics have made slur on my character
But the ex-England striker is fuming at talk he has no passion for football any more and prefers horse racing.
He said: "Criticism has to be something you can take, otherwise you're pretty much doomed.
"However, one point annoyingly kept rearing its head that I haven't got the passion anymore, prefer horses and have other things in my life.
"It feels like a slur on my character and integrity to hear people questioning my desire.
"To reach the highs that I have been fortunate enough to reach in my career, one thing you cannot lack is desire.
"From the minute I could walk I've carried a football under my arm.
"I have loved the game of football as much as anyone. Nothing was handed to me. I had the desire to be the best and that certainly hasn't left me - and never will."