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Why Ferguson acted to protect Hargreaves

Sir Alex Ferguson is reported to have scuppered Owen Hargreaves’ World Cup dream during a chance meeting with Fabio Capello when the pair bumped into each other at the League Managers’ Association dinner in London last Monday. Up until then Hargreaves was IN England’s 30 man squad but buy by the time Fergie’s conversation with the England coach had concluded five minutes later, Hargreaves was OUT at the expense of Gareth Barry.

The Manchester United chief convinced Capello that Hargreaves, who has played just 30 seconds of first team football this season, would not be ready. Fergie told the England chief he was “a long, long way away” from being able to compete at the highest level  forcing Capello into an incredible U-turn. It also explains why Barry, who was publicly ruled out by Capello on Monday afternoon because of ankle ligament damage, was reinstated when the squad was officially announced on Tuesday.

Hargreaves had initially been picked ahead of Barry after intense lobbying from England’s general manager Franco Baldini. Capello and Baldini had reached agreement some time ago that they would pick one “wild card” entry into their World Cup squad. That man was Hargreaves, aware that England had been probing for his medical records at United until Monday night.

The dramatic development will stun Hargreaves who was suddenly axed from United’s squad to face Stoke at Old Trafford last Sunday. He was hoping to get at least 30 minutes to show Capello he could do a job at the finals but there was no place for him in Ferguson’s 18 man squad and stormed away from the stadium 50 minutes before kickoff. Interestingly, Hargreaves had come on as a substitute in the 1-0 victory over Sunderland in the Premier League the week before.

United claimed Hargreaves’ exit was due to illness but an onlooker said “At about 3.10pm a member of the security team got into a grey Audi and headed for Gate 4B of the Stretford End. The way the car moved off  I thought it was one of the Glazers trying to get away. But then Hargreaves appeared and he did not look happy, he didn’t hang about for long.” Although the United midfielder has chronic tendinitis in both knees, the player is convinced he has found a solution to the problem.

Earlier this year Fergie went on record to say “Hargreaves owes us now, he has to think of his club not his country” after showing so much patience. Fergie took matters into his own hands on Monday night and that explains Barry’s dramatic reprieve after first fearing that his World Cup ambitions were over. England went to great lengths to assess Hargreaves’ condition and were certain that he could get through the next two months.

The FA’s medical staff have been collating information this week on each of the 30 players overall health. They have been working with clubs to access the data relating to fitness, conditioning and recovery before they travel to their Austrian training camp tomorrow. England’s players will wear specially adapted heart rate monitors to every training session, logging their performance and recovery.

The England chief is also putting the finishing touches to his backroom staff, scheduling a meeting with David Beckham to discuss his role in South Africa. Beckham has been ruled out with ankle ligament damage but the 2018 World Cup bid ambassador will be a big part of England’s plans.

Capello said “I have to speak with Beckham and decide the role he will have in South Africa. He played a lot of games for the national team in a short space of time and he was always important for me. David could have gone on holiday during the World Cup or stay at home with his family. He is a perfect role model which is important. He can do anything he wants but prefers to be with us, he has a love of the shirt”

Sir Alex will never claim that managing a club like United is an easy task. He knows full well how hard Hargreaves had to work to get into a position where he could even be considered by Capello for a place in England’s World Cup squad but Ferguson’s first duties are to his club and the well being of his players. He obviously came to the conclusion that having Hargreaves consolidate his recovery from such a long injury over the summer was in the players best interest.

Did Ferguson do the right thing by getting involved in Capello’s selection process?


No Responses to “Why Ferguson acted to protect Hargreaves”

  1. rasman says:

    Ashley young was omitted from a 30-man squad and all the journalists are pretending as if nothing happened……..well good luck to Hargo

  2. SR, Manchester says:

    Ferguson is a selfish old git who has ruined Hargreaves’ last attempt at a WC (IMHO). He wants payback for the club whilst knowing full well it won’t happen. Disgraceful.

  3. Ivor says:

    I don’t see owt wrong with Ferguson not wanting an investment of 18M quid to get knackered even worse playing for Ingerland. Clearly, both Hargreaves and Bayern München lied about the physical shape the curly-haired one was in when he left Germany. Of course, Ferguson and his staff have to take responsibility for their own naivete and lack of preparation when buying damaged goods. After being burned for two years-worth of wages and not buying a replacement, the Gaffer can still clearly hear Hoeness, Beckenbauer and Rummenigge giggling at his expense. I’ll lay you odds Hargo’s physically and psychologically ready come the beginning of next season, what with free agency looming and all… I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back in a Bayern kit next year. Plenty of ‘selfish gits’ to go round, SR!

  4. richard says:

    If this story is indeed accurate, then I support Ferguson’s recommendation. Let’s not forget that Owen hasn’t played more then 30 seconds in an United first team shirt for over 18 months. United paid handsomely for his services and the return has not been realized. Yes, the reason rest with the injuries BUT, this is a business and the Manager must protect his asset. It may appear to be a bit draconian to some, but from were you sit that’s a rather easy decision to arrive at. Place yourselves in Fergie / Uniteds’ position and I think you will quickly arrive at the same conclusion taken by Man U and Fergie. Advice to Owen:
    1. Continue your rehabilitation over the summer and get fully fit
    2. Get mentally prepared to start the 2010/11 season
    3. Thank Fergie / United every day for his/their loyalty and patience
    4. Have a great 2010/11 season and hear the United fans chant your name again

    Owen is truly a top, top player and I for one pray that he returns at his very best, next season. Even if he comes back 75% of were he was before the injury, he would be better then 90% of the players in the EPL. I dream of a day when Owen and Fletcher play in the same MF.

    In the end, it is United who pays his wages, and they are handsome wages at that.


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