Owen takes centre stage before walking media tightrope
SHOCK: NEWCASTLE UNITED HAVE A SELECTION HEADACHE
It would have caused a public outcry on the streets of Tyneside had he chosen to activate the much maligned release clause in his contract but in the end Michael Owen decided to stay - now he might find himself on the bench against Aston Villa.
Owen body swerved everything that Newcastle Blue Star threw at him and then took part in a bit of suburban swerving to avoid the colourful cast of the national media circus at Kingston Park after playing an hour against the Unibond League side.
Owen wanted to avoid talk of England - with Wayne Rooney's foot injury thrusting him into the limelight again - and concentrate on Newcastle United.
But surely that has to be heartwarming news for the Geordie public who endured plenty of nervous energy during a summer of speculation surronding Owen's future.
Newcastle will go into the Villa game on a high and set to play an attacking 4-3-3 formation - which worked a treat against Bolton.
Yet who will Allardyce drop to bring in Owen?
One school of thought is you start with the best team available if everybody is fit, another is don't change a winning line-up or you can be down with the kids and do the squad rotation thing that helped win Chelsea a couple of titles.
James Milner pushed up and done very well against Bolton to join hitman Viduka and Oba Martins, with the formation basically winning the game after a half-time 3-0 cushion paved the way for victory.
Whether Milner will be the man to make way for Owen in a front three of Viduka, Martins and the England star remains to be seen - but to have three gems in attack has to be considered a luxury and perhaps rekindles a little bit of the excitement from the Keegan era - y'kna the "how many are we going to score today lads?" routine.
Milner worked his socks off at Bolton but from an attacking point of view and it would be harsh if he was the man to miss out but Newcastle finally have options.
Alan Smith had to simply get on with the job of midfield general at the Reebok but worked very well alongside Nicky Butt and skipper Geremi and there won't be too many complaints if that continues.
Allardyce also has decisions to make in his back four with Cacapa emerging from last night's run out at Blue Star's Kingston Park, looking good and Jose Enrique also nearing selection for the first time, with Charles N' Zogbia, Steven Taylor and David Rozenhal all waiting patiently to see Saturday night's team.
*What team would you pick against Villa?