It’s been a rough few months for Manchester United players as the rigors of competing in multiple competitions have taken their toll. Sir Alex Ferguson’s defensive dilemma has been well documented in recent weeks so weary eyes now turn to the almost 29-year-old Canadian born England and Manchester United midfielder, Owen Hargreaves. Seemingly vanished from existence, Hargreaves did in fact return to Old Trafford this past September from Vail, Colorado where he spent a few months in rehabilitation from career saving knee surgery that took place in November 2008 and January 2009. Renowned knee specialist Richard Steadman performed multiple operations on the midfielder and said Hargreaves condition was “one of the worst I’ve seen in 35 years”.
Hargreaves made only sporadic appearances in the 07-08 season and even less the following year. On multiple occasions though, Hargreaves has been dominate for England and Manchester United. For country, Hargreaves was easily England’s best player in the 2006 World Cup in Germany, see under the quarter-final loss to Portugal. For club, Hargreaves was one of United’s most consistent and solid players in the 2008 Champions League Final victory over Chelsea. Hargreaves is a confident, combative and skillful midfielder. He’s an excellent passer of the ball, tackler and free-kick taker. When match fit, his defensive prowess is as good as any midfielder in world football, he’s able to stifle attacks and break up play – a trait England will require if they are to compete with attacking teams the likes of Spain and Brazil in next summer’s World Cup. With the World Cup now only 6 short months away, will Hargreaves even have time to get match fit and keep a regular starting spot for club at United?
Fabio Capello, Ferguson, Manchester United and England supporters have to be nervously awaiting news of his progress in training as Hargreaves attempts to feature for United and England in 2010. Again, if fit, Hargreaves is the type of player that can be the difference maker both teams so desperately crave. It’s not all doom and gloom for fans of the former Bayern Munich man, Ferguson’s right-hand man Mike Phelan claims Hargreaves is making good progress with minimal complications. Phelan recently spoke to the club’s offical website manutd.com saying, “He’s been out a long time now, but he’s back on the training ground. He has a lot of rehab work to do which is going to be a continuous thing for him now“.
“He’s as keen as mustard to get back in there with the squad and the time is definitely getting shorter until he is back in training fully”.
Looks like fans of Hargreaves will have to wait that much longer to see if his attempt at a return to top-flight football will bear fruition. You’ve just read the author’s opinion on Hargreaves ability to perform at a high level when fit, what say you EPL Talk readers? Can Hargreaves ever perform at the high level he did while at Bayern Munich? Will England fans ever see him don a three lions shirt again? Was the £17 million transfer fee United paid Munich for Hargreaves a waste? Here’s hoping the answer to the first two questions is Yes.