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Will Hargreaves Follow Neville & van der sar Into Retirement?

Owen Hargreaves Owen Hargreaves of Manchester United consults with the  team physio prior to leaving the pitch with an injury during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers at Old Trafford on November 6, 2010 in Manchester, England.

Poor Owen Hargreaves. The Manchester United midfielder has constantly been plagued with terrible injuries to his knees, suffering from an extremely serious case of patellar tendinitis which was described by his surgeon, who has 35 years experience in his field as the worst case he had ever seen.

It takes an incredibly strong minded individual to keep going despite being bombarded with injuries which must frustrate the undoubtedly talented individual beyond belief. It would be fair to call the Canadian born England midfielder “injury prone”, or perhaps just “unbelievably unlucky”. The question is, how can he continue at the top level with all of these injuries – the latest one a torn hamstring, of which I gather, he is slowly recovering from.

Manchester United have already seen Gary Neville walk out of Old Trafford after an outstandingly successful long career wearing red, while Edwin van der sar has announced his retirement at the grand age of 40. Nobody likes to see a professional have to step down, whether it be because of their advancing age, or incessant injuries. But sometimes it is necessary.

Hargreaves joined United in 2007, hoping to help the Red Devils to unrivalled success with him playing a big part. The former became true, as it has consistently done over the years, and the latter was true for the first year. In United’s 2007/08 season, Hargreaves clocked up a good 34 appearances in all competitions, playing his part in United’s Premier League and Champions League success that year. However, a couple of seasons down the line, and the players’ tally of appearances has only increased by 5 – and not many of them were where he played the full 90 minutes.

Hargreaves is now 30 years old, and the Manchester United team is starting to bring in younger players into the setup. His contract expires in the summer, so Hargreaves is currently in a race against time to prove to his manager that he deserves a contract renewal. But if there is one thing that Hargreaves knows from experience which shouldn’t be rushed, it is injuries. It is sad to say, but it looks as if he is fighting a losing battle. When will we see him back for United at 100% fitness and battling away like the engine he is at the heart of the United midfield? I’m not so sure we will.

On Monday, Hargreaves was included in the club’s 25-man Premier League squad, but he has not made the cut for the Champions League. It would be great to see him return, but whenever I see him on the pitch, I am constantly weary of his fragility, and frightened that in a flicker, he could be hobbling off of the pitch, down the tunnel and into that all too familiar treatment room. Despite his inclusion in the Premier League squad for the second half of the season, it seems unlikely that he will play a big part.

Hargreaves has had a successful career as a footballer. Seven years at Bayern Munich saw him win four German Bundesliga titles and the 2000/01 Champions League. His short happy period at United also saw him win a Premier League and yet another European trophy, but age and injury have taken its toll on poor Hargreaves, and he may be only one more injury away from hanging up his boots and giving up football for the sake of his body.

Tell me what you think!

Submitted by DBSFootball

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