Owen refutes retirement rumours

England and Newcastle striker Michael Owen has strenuously denied he is set to retire at the end of the season.

Owen, 29, has not scored since January and was substituted against Middlesbrough last week with the score at 1-1 before Newcastle ran out 3-1 winners to move out the Premier League's bottom three. Today, the Daily Express newspaper reported that Owen was set to quit the game in the summer and become a full-time racehorse trainer and owner.

Owen is out of contract at St James' Park at the end of the season and the club's temporary manager, Alan Shearer, has admitted he does not know where the striker will be playing next season. Meanwhile Owen was quick to refute the newspaper's claims.

"Any suggestion or unfounded speculation that Michael Owen has any intention of quitting football is totally untrue and wrong," said a statement from Owen's management company Wasserman Media Group. "Michael remains as committed to his football career as he ever has been and is deeply and professionally offended that anyone should suggest otherwise."

The statement continued: "Michael Owen has instructed lawyers and will take action against any publication which he feels inaccurately or unfairly suggested he is quitting football and is damaging to his professional reputation."

The Daily Express subsequently changed their later-edition back pages to lead on how Owen is keen to continue.