Sir Alex Ferguson reckons the reason behind the delay in Owen Hargreaves’ return is the player’s lacking confidence after over a year without football.

“He is training very well,” Ferguson said. “It is more of a confidence thing for the lad to come back into real full training with us. He is doing real good work for the physios but not at a competitive level at the moment. Having been out for a year and two months we are of the mind that take our time and don’t rush it.”

Ideas for Christmas: Owen “curly hair” Hargreaves shirt