Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has announced that Owen Hargreaves will miss the start of the upcoming season, due to another setback in his long running battle with his knee problems. The midfielder has to fly out to America to see knee specialist Dr. Richard Steadman. The 29 year old was due to fly to Chicago to be with his Man United team mates on their summer tour of America, but he will stay in the hands of Dr. Steadman to see if he can overcome another injury.
Sir Alex Ferguson told MUTV, “He will not be ready for the start of the season. I do not know when he will be back”. On other injury news from the Old Trafford team, Ferguson is unsure whether Rio Ferdinand will be ready for the season opener against Newcastle and the Man United boss thinks that Nani, Antonio Valencia and Michael Owen will be back for the start of the season.
Man United’s patience must be heavily tested with the constant injury worries of Hargreaves though. Hargreaves joined United from Bayern Munich for around £17 million pounds in the summer of 2007 and had a successful first season. Knee injuries have hampered his progress and he has been out with injuries for a total of 20 months, before his appearance in the last minute against Sunderland on the penultimate game of last season. When Hargreaves plays, he is combative, rugged and has a sweet right foot which he can pass and shoot effectively with. He also has flexibility in the positions he can play and played magnificently in Manchester United’s Champions League final success over Chelsea in 2008.
However, these injuries must have annoyed the board and I can see why. It isn’t Hargreaves fault that he has the injuries, but the board wouldn’t be happy on splashing out £17 million on a player who, regardless of the talent he has, is constantly injured and is eating up wages at Old Trafford without performances to show. Again, this isn’t Hargreaves fault and it must be frustrating preparing for a comeback that is always out of reach. If the injuries persist, Hargreaves would be better suited to working for his coaching badges and retiring from football, just like fellow 29 year old Harry Ellis has done from rugby union. The injuries have affected a player, who had remarkable talent and could have been a star.