Date: 2nd April 2009 at 10:11pm
Written by:

Owen Hargreaves did light training at Carrington for the first time since his knee surgeries which are expected to deal with his long-term knee problems. The midfielder will be back in action for the start of next season, Fergie insists.

‘His operations have gone perfectly well, he’s feeling good.’

That news is as good as it gets: his return would be a huge boost. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time that his contribution to last season’s successes are vastly undervalued, mainly because of his injury problems which were the main talking point of his campaign.

But when he was on the pitch, he delivered and he did it in important games, too. His excellent performance against Roma; the spectacular (and crucial) winner against Arsenal; his fantastic displays at right-back against Barcelona, home and away; the tireless work and the emphatic penalty in Moscow; and the list could go on.

Yes, his signing has not been a roaring success because of the knee problem. But I don’t think there was any problem with his on-field contributions. And we sorely miss him this season, as I’m often forced to conclude when Scholes is overrun by yet another team or when Fletcher’s having an off-day or when Anderson displays the positional sense of a teacup.

I think if all went according to plan we’d have a Carrick-Hargreaves central midfield pairing now who’d have great understanding, having played a season and a half together, complementing each other’s skills perfectly. Instead we have a mish-mash in midfield, constant rotation, players played out of position, forever striving for the one combination that could be successful in the long term.

We’ve done remarkably well this season despite all the problems in central midfield; I can only hope that next season we’ll be even better with a fit Owen Hargreaves.