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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 May 2007, 12:37 GMT 13:37 UK
Shepherd tells Owen to stay loyal
Newcastle striker Michael Owen (left) and chairman Freddy Shepherd
Owen (left) has missed most of the season after a knee injury
Angry Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd has told Michael Owen to show some loyalty and warned him none of the 'big four' clubs want to buy him.

Shepherd is furious after reports suggested Owen, who has played only 13 games since joining Newcastle for 17m in 2005, could leave in the summer.

"Michael has two choices: he can come out and tell our fans that he is happy here," Shepherd told the Daily Express.

"Or I tell him none of the big four are interested. Because that's the case."

A report in the Times newspaper suggested Owen could be available for as little as 9m, making him a target for the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal.

He has to prove to everyone, himself and Newcastle United included, that he is fully recovered

Newcastle chairman Freddy Shepherd

But Shepherd went on: "These suggestions will not impress our fans after what has happened in the last couple of years.

"This report was a very thinly-disguised attempt to flog Owen from under our feet, sourced very close to the player or those who look after him. The information must have come from there, not from our club."

Owen and his representatives have not responded to Shepherd's outburst but BBC Radio Five Live reporter Alistair Bruce-Ball understands the England striker wants to stay at St James' Park.

"My understanding is the Owen camp claim they are not responsible for these stories," said Bruce-Ball.

"Their position is that Owen has a contract with Newcastle and he does clearly feel this loyalty towards the club and its fans because they have seen so little of him on the pitch.

"I'm told the identity of new manager - predicted to be Sam Allardyce - would have no impact on his decision."

Owen arrived at St James' Park in 2005 but played only 11 games in his first season before breaking a bone in his foot.

He recovered in time to play at the World Cup where he suffered a serious knee injury which ruled him out of most of this season.

606: DEBATE

Shepherd said: "The loyalty this club has shown him over the last two years, when he had injury problems in his first season and had missed virtually all of this season, deserves something in return.

"He has had a really serious injury and no-one, least of all one of the biggest clubs, is likely to take a risk at this stage.

"He has to prove to everyone, himself and Newcastle United included, that he is fully recovered and not about to break down again."

SEE ALSO
Owen included in England B squad
10 May 07 |  Internationals
Ferguson plots next move
09 May 07 |  Man Utd
Newcastle comeback delights Owen
01 May 07 |  Newcastle United
Fifa stands firm on Owen pay-out
28 Feb 07 |  Newcastle United


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