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The Potters manager refutes suggestions that the retiring striker has failed to impress at the Brittania Stadium, highlighting his positive influence in the dressing room

Stoke City manager Tony Pulis has defended the signing of Michael Owen, insisting that the striker has been a success at the club despite failing to make a single league start.

The former England international joined the club in September and has since made seven substitute appearances in the Premier League, netting just one goal for the Potters in a 3-1 defeat against Swansea City.

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With the 33-year-old retiring at the end of the season, Pulis moved to vehemently deny any claims that the forward has been a flop, particularly highlighting his positive influence in the dressing room over the course of the season.

"Michael hasn't played as many games as we all would have hoped. That has been a disappointment but he has been brilliant in the dressing room," he told reporters.

"The more the year has gone on, he has blossomed and grown closer to the other players."

Owen, who was capped 89 times for England, was praised alongside other senior members of the squad as Pulis defended the signing of older players, hailing their influence on the Potters' youngsters.

"Signing senior players is sometimes frowned on these days but, if you get the right players, it actually helps the group and helps you improve the younger ones," he argued.

"Peter Crouch has been another one who has proved that. For young players like Steven N'Zonzi and Ryan Shawcross to have someone like them around with all their experience is fantastic."

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