Owen Hargreaves: You Broke My Heart, Again – A Fan's Perspective

CHESTER, ENGLAND - MAY 05: Sir Alex Ferguson (C) enjoys the day with Owen Hargreaves (R) and a Manchester United coach (L) at Chester racecourse on May 05, 2010 in Chester, England (Photo by Alan Crowhurst/ Getty Images)

It’s no longer new news, but it seems poor old Owen Hargreaves just can’t seem to get his knee problems sorted out as he faces YET ANOTHER setback in hopes he’ll soon reach full match fitness. What an incredibly psychologically taxing situation Hargreaves must be facing as he continually is forced to pick himself up off the ground and start over again as the footballing world seems to pass him by in the rear view.

As football fans, we all have certain players we gravitate to for one reason or another. You may have seen them play for a previous club and always wanted them to come play for your team. Maybe they play similar to the way you played – on a much lower level – when you laced up in better days. For me, Owen Hargreaves is one of those players that I’ve always connected with, that I’ve always liked that much more than other players on my club, and a player I’ve always looked for first or second on the team sheet.

Whether it’s my ongoing man crush on him, his tireless work rate as a defensive midfielder, his ability to pick out a stunning ball in the center of the pitch, or his ability to cross the ball from the wings, it’s safe to say his pain has definitely been passed on to me as I wonder when, if ever, he’ll represent England or Manchester United again.

As I witnessed Hargreaves take the field against Sunderland last season for all of a minute, I held that tiny bit of hope that this was in fact the beginning of some miraculous comeback that would see Hargreaves gain further match fitness and valuable rest over the summer, only to be chomping at the bit in United’s midfield come mid August. Hargreaves’ addition in United’s midfield adds numerous dimensions to an attack minded set up, or a more conservative approach on a European night. His experience playing in big matches, domestically, in Europe and Internationally, is a valuable resource when needed.

When United last conquered Europe, Hargreaves was arguably United’s best player on the night starting on the right side of midfield and providing service to United’s strikers from the wing, all while dealing with Chelsea’s Florent Malouda and Ashley Cole in his spare time. He smashed his spot kick home on way to United lifting the trophy over fellow English foes Chelsea, a night United supporters haven’t remotely forgotten.

His performances for England at the 2006 World Cup have been widely discussed and spoken of at length. What a brilliant display of stamina, precision and leadership Hargreaves displayed in England’s eventual elimination at the hands of Portugal. Hargreaves was the only England player to net his penalty on the day after what was surely an exhausting performances over the course of 120 minutes.

As a huge supporter of Hargreaves, I’m no where near ready to give up on him just yet. At 29, times have looked brighter for the Canadian born midfielder, yet one could see a comeback in some capacity as Hargreaves realistically could still have 4 or 5 years left to give football if he can finally make progress after such a long stint away.

My hope is that Hargreaves can do just that. For someone who’s had such a tumultuous battle with injury over the last few years, it’s time a little luck and a few good breaks go Owen Hargreaves’ way.

11 thoughts on “Owen Hargreaves: You Broke My Heart, Again – A Fan's Perspective”

  1. While no-one likes to see a player the quality of Hargreaves suffer through injury, he and we must surely be start contemplating the worst.

    I’d love to see a fit and healthy Hargreaves back in the United side, filling a hole that Carrick cannot or replacing the legendary but soon to be gone Gary Neville at right back.

    Sadly, I just can’t see it. Never give up hope, but always face reality. Bayern Munich saw the best of him. Manchester United have seen but a glimpse.

  2. If you’re sad being not able to watch Hargreaves ever play for England again, imagine what it’s like being a Canadian; watching him play for a country other than the one where he was actually born and raised. This while he could have helped Canada make the world cup, rather than missing it. Perhaps he’s getting some karma.

  3. Jay: one player a step above the others can’t help? Tell that to the Dutch. Tell it to Barcelona. Tell it to Liverpool. Tell it to the Ivory Coast. When it’s a matter of getting by Honduras or Costa Rica, one quality player can help. So you can “somehow doubt it” all you like, but while one player doesn’t guarantee anything, there can be no doubt one good player can “help”.

    1. I think you are correct here, Juve. A pairing of Hargreaves with DeRosario would have been very difficult for other clubs in CONCACAF to deal with.

      But, what can you do, he picked England. If only Rossi had selected the US …

    2. @ Juve: “Tell that to the Dutch. Tell that to Barcelona.”
      If you’re suggesting those two teams benefit from having one player who is a level above everyone else, I think you’ve chosen two awful examples. With Barcelona, I assume you mean Messi. But I’m pretty sure Xavi and Iniesta for a start would take offense at that.
      As for the Dutch, I can’t even begin to imagine who you think their one standout player is? Robben? Sneijder? Van Persie?

  4. Juve, you seriously need to get over the fact that Hargreaves chose England over Canada. It’s been how long since he made that decision? You sound like a big baby.

  5. Dave C., why even bother writing if you don’t have a clue what you’re talking about.

    My point is that Messi helps Barcelona and Robben helps the Dutch. If you don’t think this is true, you’ve lost your bonkers or you need to learn English and in particular what the word “help” means. And for your information, the other ones I refererenced are a healthy Droga who surely “helps” Ivory Coast and a healthy Torres who helps Liverpool.

    And if you don’t think Messi is a cut above most players in the world, I wonder why it is he’s rated by many to be the #1 football player on the planet?

    And Jeff, just because someone intelligently discusses a topic when the subject of the topic is written about (that Hargreaves’ value to a team in big matches is missed), doesn’t mean a person “seriously needs to get over” something. Get a clue, pal.

    Not that it would have been possible, but imagine if Rooney had opted to play for Italy or Spain, then got injured, and you read an article about how sad it is that Italy or Spain won’t get Rooney’s service. You might be tempted to reply.

    1. @ Juve:
      Alright, alright, calm down…no need to hurt my feelings, man 😉

      First of all, I think it’s a bit rash to say I don’t have a clue what I’m talking about. Especially as you don’t seem to have addressed the points I made. Secondly, don’t lecture me in how I need to learn English, while at the same time suggesting that I have “lost my bonkers.” I’m not sure where you’re from, but that seems to be a really bad mis-use of a colloquialism. The expression is “to have GONE bonkers” or “to lose your MARBLES”. I think you’re confusing the two.

      Anyway, grammer lesson and hurt feelings aside, I didn’t deny that Messi “helps” Barcelona, or that Robben “helps” the Dutch. Of course they do. My point was that you said that you included Barcelona and Holland as examples of teams having a player a “step above” everyone else, and I just don’t think they’re good examples. I will accept that Messi is arguably the #1 player in the eyes of most of the media. But realistically, I don’t think he stands head and shoulders above everyone else at Barca. I think Xavi and Iniesta in particular are just as vitally important, if not more so. And in that sense, I don’t think Messi is necessarily a step above those two.

      However, even if I concede that you may be right about Messi, I definitely disagree about Netherlands. I honestly did not know which player you were referring to as their “step-above-the-rest” player, until you spelt out that you meant Robben. Personally I would have said that Snijder is their key-man, which seems to be backed up by the fact he was one of the top-scorers in the WC, a close-runner up for the player of the tournament award, as well as being the key attacking force for an Inter side that has just won the Champions League and Serie A. I certainly wouldn’t say that Robben is a step above him.

      In fact, looking back at your post in context, I think you interpreted what Jay was saying way too literally. I don’t think he’s saying that a fit & healthy Hargreaves would not help Canada AT ALL, since it’s pretty obvious that he would be their best (ever?) player, and undoubtedly improve the squad. I think he was implying that Hargreaves alone would not make MUCH of an impact on Canada’s performances, which I think is reasonable. Even with one great player, a team isn’t going to get to the WC unless it has a pretty solid squad – just ask Wales, Liberia or Northern Ireland.

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