Get involved: send your pictures, video, news and views by texting ECHONEWS to 80360, or email us Click here for details »
Owen keen to stay in Premier League
Michael Owen is still holding out hope of a future in the Barclays Premier League.
The former England striker was released by Manchester United at the end of last season and has since been linked with a host of clubs. Stoke have emerged as his most determined suitors, with manager Tony Pulis and Owen's former England team-mate Peter Crouch both encouraging the 32-year-old to join them at the Britannia Stadium.
With almost two weeks of the transfer window remaining, Owen is keeping his options open, but he admits his desire is to continue to play Premier League football. He told Sky Sports 1: "I'm wanting to play and eager to start again. I just wish the fans on my Twitter account were running the clubs, then I'd sign for anyone I wanted!"
Owen went on: "I want to play in the best possible team. If it was local to my house, excellent. I want to play more often, but that's not written in the contract. I don't really want to play in the Championship, I know I can still play in the Premier League and can still score goals.
"Obviously the question mark for any potential buyers is injuries but I just need a good run of games and I just didn't have that at Manchester United. I need to regularly train and play.
"There's been interest from all corners of the Earth, every nation you can think of - Germany, Italy, Spain, Turkey. My ideal is the Premier League, I want to play in the Premier League - then it's whoever's the best team, then things like location, the deal, different things will play a part."
Alongside football, horse racing has played an increased role in Owen's life in recent years, with his interest in owning and breeding horses - his colt Brown Panther won June's King George V Stakes at Royal Ascot.
But he insists his passion for raceday will never supplant football in his affections, even when his playing days are over.
"Football will always be my main passion and horse racing is a distant second," he said.
"But footballers are often criticised for not planning ahead, you hear terrible stories about when footballers retire, about depression or having nothing to turn to, so it's about planning for life after football as well."