Hargreaves comeback confirmed
Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has revealed that Owen Hargreaves will make his long-awaited return from injury next week.
The midfield enforcer is set for a reserve run-out against Manchester City on Thursday as he looks to step up his rehabilitation.
The England international has been out of action since September 2008, with a series of knee problems keeping him on the sidelines.
Hargreaves has undergone operations on both knees over the course of the last 18 months and has been a regular at Dr Richard Steadman's clinic in America.
He returned from the States in September and was reported to be only a few months away from full fitness.
His comeback has been pushed back since then, though, with the delay raising fresh concerns about his long-term future.
Reports suggested he could be out for the remainder of the season, dashing any hopes he had of making Fabio Capello's World Cup squad.
However, he could now be back in first-team contention heading down the final stretch, with Ferguson admitting the 29-year-old is making encouraging progress.
"Owen Hargreaves has shown for the first time that he is almost ready to play," he said.
"He has been training with the first-team, which has been good to see and is pencilled in for a game with the reserves on Thursday."
Ferguson has also announced further good news on the injury front for United, with Italian starlet Federico Macheda about to start training again following a recent injury.
His return helps to bolster the Red Devils' attacking options, with Michael Owen having been ruled out for the remainder of the season with a hamstring problem and Danny Welbeck currently out on loan at Championship outfit Preston.
"They are dropping off at the moment but we have got some encouragement with players coming back," said Ferguson.
"Macheda starts training with the first-team again next week which is also good news, particularly considering the loss of Michael.
"He is a good player to have back. So we have had some disappointments with some, and light at the end of the tunnel with other players."
Latest Forum Comments
He is finished IMO. Sad news.- Menace
I agree with Birchy on this one. Really disapointed was looking foward to having him ready for the start of the season and add soemthing to the Midfield that I thought was missing in parts last season.- RED AUSSIE ANT
surely its time to end this now? even he he does get back is he really gonna be a key player that we can rely on when the big matches come around? thanks for the memories, moscow et all but i think nows the time to move on.- birchy
Hopefully the injections will be a short term measure as opposed to the only way he'll get on the pitch from 11/12 onwards. I know they're the exception rather than the rule but if we look at the likes of King & McGrath sometimes the guys with no medical justification for playing the way they do defy all logic to do so way beyond the age expected.- jonny
I hope im wrong but i honestly cant see him getting back to the level he was at before the injury especially now that he'll have to keep getting injections and playing through constant pain for the rest of his career. I thought it was a bit strange as well that he was pulled from the reserve game before it was called off, surely another 45 minutes to build up some match fitness would have been of great benefit to him.- Munsterman
From what I read today it's pretty much a case of managing the pain for him now, which surely doesn't bode well for a long stay?- Jonesy
Nice of the press to put a more positive spin on things then. I still retain some hope that he's ready to make that step up sooner rather than later.- jonny
If he can capture the form he showed in 2008 then he would go straight into the starting line-up for me. A central midfield of him and Fletcher might be good enough to stop Xavi and Iniesta working their magic should we be lucky enough to face Barca again.- Menace
Its easy to forget how good he is. As well as the fact he is a United player. If we can get him fit and playing for the run in, would be a great advantage.- Matt
Absolutely, i think a midfield of him, Fletch and Scholesy are a match for any midfield any where in the world, then you have Giggs, Park, Valencia and Nani who can all play on the wings and Carrick, Park and Giggsy who can all play through the middle, its definitely our strongest area on the field and the main reason we are still in the running for the major competitions despite all the injuries we've had in defense.- Hamzah
Current Premiership Table