Canadian born English international Owen Hargreaves was once a talented midfielder with a great international career ahead of him, but a recurring patellar tendinitis problem has restricted him to very few club appearances over the last couple of seasons. Actually his minutes for the first team could be counted, they have been so few. Now over the weekend United manager Alex Ferguson left Hargreaves out of the 25 players list registered with UEFA for the Champions League 2010/11, which is another major drawback for the midfielder as United have a small squad and there was place on the list for him to be registered.
And this raises a bigger question. Is this step by Sir Alex the start of the end of the road for Hargreaves at Manchester United? Hargreaves was signed in 2007 by Ferguson for around 25 Million Euros from Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich after impressing at the German club for years, also becoming one of the key players for the English national team. But since coming to England he has only played 26 matches over three seasons and most of those games were actually in season one.
Hargreaves has had numerous operations on his patellar tendinitis problem, but so far it could not be fixed in such a way which would allow Hargreaves to play regularly without pain. And at the age of only 29 the question comes up if Hargreaves will ever return to play top class football. Last season he had hopes of making a comeback in the later part of the season and also making a late push for an England spot in the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, but that was not to be.
At least there is good news for Hargreaves as Ferguson has registered him for the English Premier League and if he gets a few matches for the reserves under his belt then he might become at least a candidate for the bench. But Hargreaves still has a way to go to make it back. And I hope he makes it back as it would be a sad premature end to a already successful career.