May 25, 2011
Owen is sweating on even getting a place on the bench for Saturday’s Champions League final with Barcelona.
After making just two appearances in Europe this season, and an unused substitute on a single other occasion, Owen seems certain to be one of those Premier League title winners who misses out altogether when Sir Alex Ferguson names his squad for the Wembley showpiece.
One of the major reasons for that is the form of Hernandez.
Expected to be a bit-part player initially when he arrived from Mexican outfit Chivas, the 22-year-old has been singled out as the buy of the season by most observers.
His 20 goals have bounced him right into Ferguson’s plans this weekend, when the only reason he would be left on the bench was if the United boss felt he needed extra midfield reinforcements.
Owen does not believe Hernandez has the same approach as he had during the early part of his career.
However, as injuries have forced the former Liverpool star to adapt his own game, he feels the similarities are now obvious, except Hernandez is better.
“He is a sharper version of what I am now,” said Owen.
“When you buy a player you hope he is going to be a permanent fixture in the team but I don’t think anyone could have envisaged it being so soon.
“The instinctiveness of his play inside the box to sniff out chances is impressive and he is a cracking finisher.
“He has played and scored in the World Cup and in a Champions League semi-final, which would suggest he can handle the big stage. That is important at a club like this.”
It begs the question why Ferguson would want Owen to remain at Old Trafford given his patchy fitness record and the knowledge Danny Welbeck is returning from an impressive loan spell at Sunderland.
Dimitar Berbatov’s recent assertion that he is going nowhere as he enters the final year of his contract does not augur well for Owen’s future either, although it is not an issue to press just yet.
“I want to stay because Manchester United is a fantastic club,” he said.
“I will be speaking to the manager but his is an important week.
“There is no point discussing my future with him now, but we will have a chat after the season is over.”