Owen 'desperate' to play for Stoke but 'needs a lot more football', says Pulis

The boss admitted that the former England international needs time to get match fit, but alongside midfielder Glenn Whelan believes his new signings mean progress for the Potters

Stoke City manager Tony Pulis has revealed that Michael Owen is "desperate" to play for his new side but is still struggling for fitness.

The former England international signed for the Potters after being released by Manchester United at the end of last season following three seasons of limited appearances and further injuries.

Owen made his debut for Stoke as a last-minute substitute in Saturday’s 1-1 draw at home to Manchester City, but Pulis warned that the striker will have to be slowly introduced to first-team affairs as he regains match fitness.

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The manager told Sky Sports: "Michael has trained ever so well over the last couple of days. He is desperate to get going.

"But he needs a lot more football. He has done a lot of work by himself, fitness-wise, but playing games is a lot different from just running."

Midfielder Glenn Whelan - who joined the club before the Potters won promotion to the Premier League in 2007-08 - voiced his excitement at Owen’s arrival and believes it demonstrates the club’s ambition and growth.

He commented: "It is massive. The manager said when we first came in it was a building process each year and each year we have found that. Obviously the club has pushed on - new training ground, signing big players.

"Hopefully the fans are grateful for that and will keep coming and cheering us on but it is up to us to give them something to cheer about. It is a great club to be around at the minute because there is a big buzz."