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Ferguson Has To Pick Hargreaves

If there’s any chance whatsoever of Owen Hargreaves ever being able to come back as a professional footballer for Manchester United, Sir Alex Ferguson has to select him in his 25-man squad. Even if we don’t think he’ll be back until January, when a new squad list can be submitted, I think it is imperative he is included in the first 25. The psychological blow from being omitted might be something he would never recover from.

I remember when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was coming back from his knee injuries and at times it appeared totally hopeless. I’m not comparing the injuries, as clearly Hargreaves is in a much worse condition, but in terms of hopelessness, the situations are comparable.

“The thought of playing – that’s not to mention scoring – in that red jersey again is the best motivation in the world,” said Ole in September 2004 when he had just been ruled out for the season. “I have been there and I will be back. I will score at Old Trafford again. That’s a promise to myself and to the Manchester United fans.”

Even the manager conceded at times that Ole may never play for the first tema again, but not only did he return to the first team, he scored 11 goals for us in his last season, in all 4 competitions.

Some injuries are impossible to come back from and that may well be the case for Hargreaves. If the club decide it is impossible, then we should forget about his inclusion in the 25 man squad, but if there is any chance he’ll play again, he needs to be included. A player can be in the gym or on the treatment table all they want but it won’t get them anywhere if they don’t believe they’re going to play again. If Solskjaer had given up hope, he never would have made it back for us. If Hargreaves doesn’t make the squad, even with the promise of being included in the next one, he will give up hope and that will be the end of him.

When Wednesday comes, we should know one way or another whether Hargreaves has any chance of a United future.

Solskjaer’s Greatest Moments: Return from Injury

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Passe_Mouraille says:

    denton davey:
    You’re right, and that’s the beauty of it all, where one falls behind another one steps up.

  2. wayne says:

    i think hargo has already stated he was playing when he shouldn’t have been in that first year so maybe he wasn’t truthful to the club about how severe his injury was or felt because he didn’t want to let the team down, getting those injections and playing injured made it worse so maybe the player and the club are both at fault,utd have stood by him and hes worked hard and had the operations to try and play again so both parties are being fair with each other its just one of those things thats still in limbo lets hope it all works out

  3. keano says:

    my mistake sorry.. for the moment i forgot about the u21 rule..

  4. MG says:


    I told ya buddy

    No where near in the same breath as the King

    Love the King Love Manchester United even more (no more glazer talk)

  5. TK says:

    Totally agree with you Scott .I have said on here many times before and i’ll say it again.I’d rather have a fit and ready Owen Hargreaves than any other defensive Midfielder .

  6. willierednut says:

    Costas – As far as i know, our medical staff knew his knees were not a 100% right, but they thought that they could control it with the injections, obviously they were wrong.

  7. Costas says:


    Yeah, that’s what I am suspecting too. As wayne says, I think Hargo and the club didn’t handle the situation properly.

  8. willierednut says:

    Cleverley to Wigan looks like a done deal, i wonder if there’s something in the Rodwell rumours.

  9. Costas says:

    Thanks for the Cleverley article. I wonder if it’s for 6 months or a a full season. I’d prefer it if we sent him somewhere else though. Wigan’s “throw in the towel” mentality in plenty of their games will ruin him, lol.

  10. MG says:


    I thought Sir Alex categorically said that Tom would not be leaving that he would be staying to further his development at United since he has gone so far?

    What would I know : )

  11. United4eva says:

    Its over for Hargreaves. His contract expires at the end of this season and I very much doubt United will renew it in the vain hope that he’ll get back to his best. Its sad because he was a big part of us winning the League and Champions League in 2008 but the truth is its over. Such a shame…

  12. willierednut says:

    MG – You know as well as i, that the boss loves playing his mind games, not just with the media, but with us as well.

  13. StatesideAussie says:

    @willierednut … re Hargo being “washed up”, I was summarizing a bunch of comments that have been made, not necessarily yours mate! I agree that football is a cut-throat business. And that’s as it should be: the club must come first! I was in favor of Hargo not picked in the 25-man squad until I found out we can’t fill our allowed quota of senior players anyway. Cheers!

  14. willierednut says:

    StatesideAussie – No worries mate.

  15. MG says:


    I wouldn’t expect nothing less

    Mind games United : )

  16. Zibbie says:

    24 players over 21 cool

  17. Zibbie says:

    Hargo what a shame he was such a key player on the CL title run, so likable as a player.
    Jack Cockgood would fit the mold for Ferrgie. Young, English with a huge upside!

  18. RedDeviled Egg says:

    Anyone see Welbeck against City?
    He looked great. AS soon as he came on the game changed. He’s got a great bag of tricks to throw at defenders too

  19. devil without a cause says:


    tbh would love to see Rodwell in a utd shirt. he is quick, strong, young, basically a defencive player but has improved a lot while going forward. he just could be the need of the hour.
    but some rumours also state that we would be offering 10 mn + Carrick which is absolutely ridiculous. agree that MC is going through bad form but he (when on song) is the best passer of the team after Scholes. so imo getting Rodwell for around 15-20 mn would be a good business with MC also staying a red devil.

  20. obertanthenewstar says:

    i really dont think rodwell will come.. the cleverly move must be due to anderson’s good form in training maybe?? or carrick coming back to life… i cant really see us getting rodwell tbh
    would be nice tho as rodwell does look to be a talent.. strong agile quick, can pass the ball, can win it back, good height and knows where the goal is!!

  21. willierednut says:

    DWAC – I can’t see Moyes letting Rodwell go for 10 million and Carrick, if there is a deal, it’ll probably be a cash deal only.

  22. devil without a cause says:


    or maybe replace Carrick with Hargreaves. LoL
    P.S. i put a stone on my heart while writing that. :-P

  23. Buytheclub2012 says:

    I’m sure rodwell will at united one day he’s the player who fit us and sir alex wanted,but unlikely for this moment.

  24. Zibbie says:

    Maybe in the winter window.
    SAF likes this lad he would look great in the Man Utd kit.

  25. Mickjk says:

    It would be great to see Hargreaves back. Important that he does get back soon being in the last year of his contract. Great player but such a shame. After all who wouldn’t let him shag their wife? That song was a particular favourite of mine. Classic.

  26. cantona7 says:

    Scott, i agree 100% with you on this.

  27. Devil310 says:

    Personally, I think the psychological harm has already caused damage….and it should be one of his biggest obstacles to get through once he is physically fit.

    In reality, I doubt he will be ready….not in full form. Therefore, SAF should not waste this opportunity by including someone who could actually help the team.

    We wouldn’t want to be hit by injuries like last year and not have enough cover.

  28. denton davey says:

    obertanthenewstar @ 18:21: “the cleverly move must be due to anderson’s good form in training maybe??”

    THAT would be great news. I’m a HUGE fan of Anderson. For the last two years, Anderson’s career has stalled and he needs to get his mojo working by being played alongside Darren Fletcherinho and/or Paul Scholes.

    About Cleverley – he needs to play regularly. These loan deals are only beneficial to UTD if our guys are more-or-less guaranteed regular playing time; otherwise, they’re worse than useless.

    Rodwell for Carrick and “spare change” would be a good deal for UTD but a silly one for Everton who have better players than Carrick already. The quoted re-sale price for Carrick – ten million (give-or-take) is ludicrous: he’s 28.29, going downhill fast, and gets huge wages. Everton will hold out for an all-cash sale unless they can flip Steven Pienaar and Rodwell and get Carrick to take up some of the slack and end up with a big bag of money. Anything less would be counter-productive for them – a version of subtraction by addition.

  29. Altonian says:

    Fze123 – If he is good enough he will have an impact at Wigan and certainly be coming back. If he can’t make an impression after a season at Wigan then surely he’s not going to be good enough for Utd? Wilshire was able to do pretty well at Bolton and with being a few years older I see no reason why Cleverley can’t (if he really does have as much promise as so many people seem to think).

  30. AON: Americans Out Now says:

    Fergie doesnt have choice other than including Hargo in our 25 Man Squad as their is space for him !! The last I checked..We’d have to sign 1 more Over 21 player if we have to keep Hargo out !

    Home Grown: (8+4= 12)

    Wes Brown
    Michael Carrick
    Jonny Evans
    Rio Ferdinand
    Darren Fletcher
    Darron Gibson
    Ryan Giggs
    Gary Neville
    John O’Shea
    Michael Owen
    Wayne Rooney
    Paul Scholes

    Foreign over-21s(12)

    Nemanja Vidic
    Edwin Van der Sar
    Antonio Valencia
    Tomasz Kuszczak
    Ji-Sung Park
    Patrice Evra
    Dimitar Berbatov
    Owen Hargreaves
    Javier Hernandez
    Ritchie de Laet


    Fabio Da Silva
    Rafael Da Silva
    Gabriel Obertan
    Chris Smalling
    Federico Macheda
    Ben Amos
    Tom Cleverley
    Corry Evans

    We ve got one Vacant Spot for a New Signing !! ;)

  31. AON: Americans Out Now says:

    Sorry mistake…

    * Sign 2 new over 21 players to keep Hargo Out !!

  32. devil without a cause says:


    you are right with your calculation. but for this season only and as far as i know this aint the last. under 21 wont always remain under 21. they would demand a place in the 25 man squad list in the next coming years. so imo its better to keep a space or two spare.
    you can say that this might be the last season for Scholes, Giggs, Neville and VDS but in reality you never know. last season was also meant to be their last but here they are banging in the goals providing assist after assist and making reflex action saves. not to forget the tag-team tackles by Scholes and Giggs.

  33. badger says:

    @Mozza79. Couldn’t agree with you more mate, its unfortunate but I just dont see that Hargreaves will ever be back playing to previous standards and I dont know why we haven’t cancelled his contract yet – especially if we are as skint as people make out, that squad position and wages could be put to far better use.

  34. Costas says:


    Because it’s not the right thing to do. Hargo got injured(or got seriously injured) while playing for United, so there’s a sense of resposibility on our part. I can see us parting ways with him mutually and under good terms. But cancelling his contract is ethically wrong. It’s a shame that a player like him has been payed for 2 years and hasn’t played more than 90 seconds, but the club has pissed away money in worse fashion in recent years.

  35. King Eric says:

    denton – Carrick going downhill fast? Oh come on man. Granted he had a poor last season but the lad is still United’s best passer aside from Scholes. He also protects the back 4. Very harsh mate.

  36. badger says:

    @Costas. I hear what you are saying but how long do we leave it until we decide enough is enough? Have we missed out on other targets because we are pinning our hopes on Hargreaves returning? Its a real shame because he is exactly the kind of player we need but to be honest the management team should have seen this coming because Hargreaves injury record before signing for United was appalling, they were aware of the tendonitis problem when we bought him so a calculated risk that has backfired in spectacular fashion.

  37. Costas says:


    That’s the thing. You are aware that something might be wrong with this player and you sign him up for 4 years. Once you do down that road, I don’t think it’s fair to turn around and tell him “We don’t see you ever becoming the player you once was, lets terminate the contract”. Trust me, I am frustrated about the situation too. When it’s all said and done, Hargo will have probably played 1 year out of the 4 we signed him for. I just look at what we did in the past in similar situations(Blomqvist, Solskaer) and we usually give the player every possibility to come back. I think Fergie even recommended Blomqvist to Everton after his contract with us run out.

    Did Hargo’s ordeal stop us from buying other players in that area? That’s an interesting debate. I think that was probably the case in the summer of 09. At the time, we were expecting Hargo to come back in the Autumn of 09, so that might have prevented us from buying another midfielder. I don’t think this was the case this summer. Hargo went back to the US in early July I think. We had plenty of time to buy a defensive midfielder. And I feel that we should have.

  38. parryheid says:

    Now it appears Hargo’s tendonitus may have been known when signed, well I think that would put the tin hat on any insurance settlement I’m no expert but any claim I made on policies all had what they called perils.Manchester has the headquarters of one of the biggest insurance companies in the country and plenty of the supporters of this club will be experts in that field,could be that we’ve got nuthin coming.

  39. denton davey says:

    King Eric @ 10:52: “denton – Carrick going downhill fast? Oh come on man. Granted he had a poor last season but the lad is still United’s best passer aside from Scholes. He also protects the back 4. Very harsh mate.”

    This is one of those personnel issues about which we have agreed to disagree.

    I just don’t see the evidence in his play on which you could claim that Carrick is “United’s best passer aside from Scholes”. To my way of thinking – based on what I’ve seen these past few seasons – Michael Carrick is an adequate “screen” protecting the back four but he is a quiet/passive attacking player who generally slows the game and tends to pass backwards/sideways more often than forwards.

    To be sure, he plays better with a pit-bull like Owen Hargreaves/Anderson/DarrenFletcherinho and worse when he’s paired with a genius like Scholes. I don’t think that this assessment is “harsh” but, rather, the reality of his play has been insipid – even DonFabio agrees with that (although I realize that relying on Capello’s assessment is not likely to curry favour with UTD fans !)

  40. Supatrice says:

    Hargreaves is a write off unfortunate but true.

  41. willierednut says:

    Costas – I don’t think anyone’s suggesting that United should kick Hargreaves out of the club, not at all, but that Hargo and the club should come to an understanding, if he can’t get over his injury.

  42. Joe says:

    I’m sure he’ll be included, if only because Carrick looks like half the player he was in 08/09. As for coming back from the injury, I’m just not too positive about that anymore. I really feel for him, but he was really foolish not to get the injury checked out while at Bayern. I suppose it’s a testament to his character that he was so desperate to play he never really brought up the injury, but now his knees are almost completely fucked. Such a shame for such a great player to have to bow out like this, but I still have some hope that we’ll see him in the first team again, banging in another of those freekicks.

  43. keith_mac says:

    hargreaves made the squad!!!!!


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