Tue, Dec 16, 2008 - Page 18 News List

Owen celebrates with a goal as Magpies beat Pompey

AFP , PORTSMOUTH, ENGLAND

Newcastle United striker Michael Owen gave little away regarding his future after sending the Magpies on the way to a 3-0 win against Portsmouth at Fratton Park on Sunday.

The England international celebrated his 29th birthday by opening the scoring in the 52nd minute of a match that saw Newcastle record their first away league victory this season in the Premier League and so climb out of the bottom three.

But any joy the traveling Magpies’ fans felt at seeing Owen score for the northeast side would have been tinged with concern following reports the former Liverpool and Real Madrid forward could be leaving St James’ Park.

Owen is scheduled to hold talks with Newcastle manager Joe Kinnear next week regarding a new contract.

He is presently on a £103,000-a-week (US$154,000) deal which expires at the end of the current season.

Newcastle could decide to cash in on their prize asset during the January transfer window rather than suffer the financial loss that would come if Owen left as a free agent at the season’s end.

“Obviously, there’s a lot made of it,” Owen told Sky Sports. “There’s quite a few players who are running out of their contracts. What do you want me to say? None of us have been offered a contract so there’s no bad guys here, I’ve not refused anything. As soon as they speak to me, obviously, I’ll have more news for you.”

Owen opened the scoring when he expertly chipped advancing England goalkeeper David James.

“If you keep a clean sheet then you’re always liable to nick one, then they had to come out a bit more and we managed to pick them off a bit,” Owen said. “To nick the first one was good, it was a great ball by Jonas [Gutierrez], the first touch was just a little bit heavy, I was stretching for it a bit, and then I managed to dink it over the keeper, but obviously I took a right clattering. I thought he [James] was trying to give me a broken leg or something.”

Newcastle made the most of an error-prone Portsmouth defense to add a second goal through Obafemi Martins 13 minutes from time, before Danny Guthrie’s 89th minute effort set the seal on a valuable victory for Kinnear’s men.

“We think that we have a very good team to win more games,” Gutierrez said. “Today, it was very important for us to change our position and to move up.”

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