United's Owen out for six weeks
© AFP

Manchester United forward Michael Owen is set to be out of action until at least Christmas with a thigh injury, the Premier League club said.

The former England forward suffered his latest fitness setback during the recent 2-0 UEFA Champions League win at home over Otelul Galati.

He lasted just ten minutes against the Romanians after straining his left thigh in the build-up to United's opening goal when Owen darted towards the near post and stretched for Phil Jones's cross.

While he failed to make contact with the ball, Owen's movement dragged defenders out of position and, according to manager Sir Alex Ferguson after the match, "made the goal" for the onrushing Antonio Valencia.

Michael has a thigh muscle injury and will be out for six weeks or so.
Manchester United statement

Although Ferguson hoped the injury wasn't serious, a club spokesman said today: "Michael has a thigh muscle injury and will be out for six weeks or so."

That means Owen, who made his name at Liverpool before spells at Real Madrid and Newcastle United, is unlikely to play for United until 26 December at the earliest when the Red Devils are at home against Wigan Athletic.

United are currently second in the Premier League table, five points behind leaders and rivals crosstown Manchester City.