Belfast Telegraph

Fergie backs Hargreaves

Manchester United midfielder Owen Hargreaves has been handed a boost by manager Sir Alex Ferguson after he pulled him out of the reserves to train with the first team.

The 29-year-old was scheduled to continue his comeback from major knee surgery with another appearance for the second string against Burnley at Accrington last night.

He played his first game for 18 months in the reserves against the Clarets last week but Ferguson has other plans for the former Bayern Munich midfielder.

“Owen won't play for the reserves,” Ferguson revealed.

“He's going to be training with the first team and we'll see where that takes him. We're keen to get him back involved because he's an experienced player and will be a valuable addition for us in the run-in, when having a strong, fit squad is vital.”

Hargreaves is only eligible for the Barclays Premier League as he was not registered for the Champions League knockout phase.

And the player himself admitted he wondered whether he would ever play again.

“It is only human to think that way,” he said.

“Football is a physical game and injuries are part of it. But I could never imagine having one that has impacted on me so much. I thought — everyone thought — I would be fit for the start of the season. It didn't materialise. It has been a pretty humbling experience and I am sure many people doubted me, but anybody who knows me, knows that what I set my mind to, I get.”

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