Once tagged as an injury-prone player, Manchester United fifth-choice striker Michael Owen is crediting his lack of regular playing time as the reason for his recent streak of good health.
"After struggling with injuries for so long, it's been tremendous to spend less time in the physio's room and more time on the bench," Owen said at Manchester United's Carrington training ground. "When I first joined the club, Sir Alex told me that not playing would be the best way for me to get fit again and I think I've proven him right so far. I owe it all to him."
The former England international started five Premier League matches in his first season with the club and just one last season. He has yet to appear for the club this season.
When asked if he'd like to play more, Owen replied: "The more I play, the more likely I am to get hurt. And if I get hurt, then I can't play at all. So clearly the best thing for me to do is to just sit on the bench, remain healthy and watch the lads win medals for me. It's been wonderful."
Yet, even off the pitch, Owen is keenly aware that the threat of injury still remains.
"I sit on this donut pillow just to be sure I don't rupture anything while I'm being still," he said, holding up the red cushion. "You can never be too careful."