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Hargreaves’ Injury History Is Shocking

I will get the Roma preview out later in the day, hopefully. In the meantime, I will take a little time out and bring up the dreaded question that’s been on a lot of our minds:

Is Owen Hargreaves Our New Mr Glass? Or, in other words, Have we signed an expensive crock?

So what I did was a little digging into one of the world’s greatest reserves of knowledge — Wikipedia — and came up with some facts. I might seem a little disconcerting. Brace yourselves.

I will quote some excerpts from Wikipedia. You can read the entire article (which is his bio) here:

In the 2001-02 season Hargreaves established himself as a first team regular, making 46 appearances in all. In spite of setbacks for the club in the form of a third place finish in the Bundesliga, a quarter final appearance in the Champions League and a Cup defeat by Schalke, the season proved to be a decisive one for Hargreaves as he emerged as a key player of the team.

2002-03 saw Hargreaves celebrate another domestic success as Bayern won the Bundesliga title and the DFB Cup. On 26 January 2003, Hargreaves scored his first Bundesliga goal in the game against Borussia Mönchengladbach. Unfortunately, the season also saw him out injured on three separate occasions. In September he tore a thigh muscle, then in October a calf muscle. Towards the end of the season adductor problems meant he missed a further three weeks. He racked up 25 Bundesliga appearances, four Cup games and three matches in the Champions League.

The 2003-04 season was Hargreaves’ first with Bayern without winning any silverware. After clinching the double the year before, the Munich side finished second in the Bundesliga, and were knocked out of the Champions League by Real Madrid. Hargreaves made a total of 38 appearances for the club in this season.

In 2004-05 he picked up another German championship and DFB Cup. He had 27 appearances in the Bundesliga (one goal), played in three Cup games (two goals) and eight Champions League games.

In the 2005-06 season, he added another Bundesliga and Cup title. Hargreaves scored the first goal at the new Allianz Arena in a competitive match on 5 August 2005, against Borussia Mönchengladbach. In all, he had 15 (one goal) league, four (two goals) cup and three Champions League appearances.

In the 2006-07 season, Hargreaves was unfortunate enough to break his leg which has kept him out of most of Bayern Munich’s league campaign this term.

He’s had problems that include thigh, calf, leg break, adductor problems and now, his knee. Every conceivable part of his legs have come under the weather which leaves us to wonder how he passed a medical in the first place.

Of course, SAF’s desperation meant he might have taken him even if the doctors said that he was paralysed. But such stuff is worrying. Another surprising revelation came yesterday when SAF said that he would be out for a month, just 24 hours after saying that Hargreaves might feature in the Roma game. This is what the manager said about his injury situation:

“He will have an injection in his knee,” confirmed the boss on MUTV. “It was an option that we had some weeks ago, but after training on Monday he was feeling it and we just have to go ahead and give him the injection.

“Hopefully that’s the end of it and he comes back 100 per cent.”

I guess gambling with the fitness of an already injury prone player hasn’t paid off. One wonders why such a decision hadn’t been taken early on in the season. At present it would be a stretch to see him make the Arsenal game.

What do you people think? Is he plain unlucky, or have we made an error in judgement?



  1. Taehr

    3 October 2007 at 11:31

    I rest my case

  2. Paul at United on fire

    3 October 2007 at 11:46

    You’ve identified one season where Hargreaves had a lot of injuries before he broke his leg.

    Next you’ll be saying Fergie should never have signed Roy Keane because he did his knee in and broke a metatarsal.

    Probably his current spate of injuries were caused by the broken leg and training too hard/coming back too soon from it.

  3. bloodbath

    3 October 2007 at 11:54

    no comment.

  4. redsnake

    3 October 2007 at 12:07

    …i know im not convinced…! think were all too quick
    to label lads like hargo crocks…..hope im proved wrong

  5. Kingpin

    3 October 2007 at 12:11

    Could it be that maybe hargos injury is not as serious as SAF has said?I think that with the estonia game coming up,SAF might want to keep him in manchester to continue training and conditioning so as to have him fit again for us asap,instead of letting him go out for national duty.SAF is probably already stresing over whether saha will return in one piece after the international break,and dont think he would want to take too many risks with important first teamers.

  6. Keith Moses Kaira II

    3 October 2007 at 12:13

    Red Ranter you are clutching at straws here. Players get injuries. Especially playing in the position he plays. Only the fittest play there

  7. govindgnair

    3 October 2007 at 12:52

    hargo is a fighter..he’ll prove to be a valuable asset for the convinced..

  8. indianpunk

    3 October 2007 at 13:04

    I’ll cling to the last line by SAF

    Hopefully that’s the end of it and he comes back 100 per cent”

    And maybe we might have made an error in not going for the injection earlier but then his injuries were never that clear so the doubt will always remain thigh calf knee and what else god knows

    But he’s been above high standards all te time he has played so i dont think we have a crook at all.

  9. KingOfZamunda

    3 October 2007 at 13:27

    Not buying- Paul at United on Fire is spot on about coming back from injury and further aggravation occuring during the healing process. Just bad lick with injuries thus far and the Roy Keane analogy is quite fitting too considering the displays that Hargreaves has put in for us, slotting in immediately and looking like he’d been with us for a while as opposed to getting his first few games in. He’ll come good and this article, tad sensationalist that it is, will turn out to be unfounded. It’s the same perseverance Fergie showed with Van Nistelrooy, waiting a whole season to go back and sign him after the initial medical failure.

  10. JB

    3 October 2007 at 13:34

    Redranter: I think the suggestion that SAF would sign him even if he failed a medical is a bit out of order. Just because a player has had injury problems in the past doesn’t prevent him being fit enough to pass a medical. What would you have the club doctors do, look into the future?

    Nevertheless even a cursory knowledge of Bayern Munich’s activities in recent years would have made it clear signing Hargreaves carries a certain degree of risk. His current injury is flair up of the one he carried at the start of the season and not the recent thigh injury. I hardly think you can accuse the club of rushing him back to action, he has been given ample recovery time, we are certainly not in the Chelsea league of rushing player back!

  11. Shaheen Seedat

    3 October 2007 at 13:55

    as ive been saying – hargreaves is a GREAT player but much too INJURY PRONE

  12. bond

    3 October 2007 at 14:01

    our scouts and medical staff must be fired!!!
    creative mids – 18 m carrck and 18 ml anderson…city grabed elano
    for 8m and c hows he playing…left mid :- petrov for jst 3.5m ….we missed bale …c hows he playing..his crossed…very similar to giggs wen he came..
    why are we always cheated ??? 17 m hragreaves tooo????
    i hope am proved wrong!

  13. Gavin

    3 October 2007 at 14:15

    Wow I am not going to even comment on what bond just said. Im not going to even dignify that as a proper response.

  14. Shyam

    3 October 2007 at 14:18

    Elano is 26 yrs old and Petrov is 28 yrs old while Anderson is a rare talent and young. Carrick has proved his worth last season when he did a lampard for us. I dont think he missed more than 10% of matches we played last season which was critical as we had no cover. As it was a premiership team switch obviously the fee was high while Petrov and Elano came from foreign leagues.

  15. Just1n

    3 October 2007 at 14:30

    Hey Bond, get off your dads laptop cos you might be missing the teletubbies.

  16. bond

    3 October 2007 at 14:38

    it was not a complaint but a concern!
    lets acept the fact that they were overpriced…
    i agree very much to the point that anderson is a very raw and the best
    will eventually come..
    but wen we pay over the odds atleast
    we must be ensured that they are availble for 75% of the season!!
    if this report is correct harg just played abt 55 % of total games
    played by bayern which i believe is a very poor recrd…my concern is simple
    dont the medical staffs look at the histoy when they sign somebdy ?
    my arguments holds good only if this report is correct

  17. Steve from CA

    3 October 2007 at 17:00

    Bond, you are an idiot. First of all, Carrick was a major reason we won the title last season. Secondly, are you seriously going to pass judgement on a 19 year old kid who has been injured and very little time to learn our style of play? Bale is good but we didn’t really need him. We were always going to get Nani to play on the left wing and Evra is only 25, I believe. We have longevity on the left side and there’s no point in pissing money away like that.

    As far as Hargreaves goes, I wouldn’t say he is made of glass. Made of glass means that you get a little knock on your ankle and you’re out for 2 weeks. Tearing a calf and thigh muscle and then breaking a leg is just plain unlucky. Plus, he was virtually injury-free for three seasons. How many footballers can say that? I would sooner say that Rooney is made of glass than Hargo.

    And of course he was a good buy. A player of his caliber at his position can dictate the game entirely. Think about it: He has had very little opportunity to get acclimated to the other midfielders (I know he’s played on the national team with Carrick and Scholes but we have an entirely different system) and his experience in Premiership football consists of a few games. The reason we’ve been getting all these 1-0 results is because there has been little to no consistency in our lineups other than Rio, Vidic, and VDS (and that explains the clean sheets). n Think about it:

    Tevez has been getting used to our system.
    Carrick and Scholes have undefined roles in the midfield because SAF thought that Owen’s arrival would allow them to push up more, which Carrick has been trying to do, though he’s also been forced back into the holding midfielder role in Owen’s absence. Even Scholes has been coming back more and we all know about his ability to tackle.
    Evra has been moved back and forth between left mid and full back.
    We’ve played with 3 different RBs, none of whom are our top choice.
    Rooney and Ronaldo have been injured and suspended, respectively.
    Saha doesn’t seem to be in full fitness yet.
    Anderson and Nani are still learning and Giggs can’t be expected to go a full 90 every game.

    Barring any disaster, Neville and Hargreaves will both be back by mid-November or so and we will be better than last year. Plus, SAF said that 10 points should win our CL group. We already have 6 from two of the our three hardest fixtures. Frankly, I’ll be happy with a draw in Rome.

  18. Kienu

    3 October 2007 at 17:13

    i agree with the BOND, James Bond! look at Torres! or MArtins! hahahah!

  19. nelson otieno

    3 October 2007 at 17:28

    lets be patient, if i am correct the rud van we sold to madrid had a somewhat terrible injury before we signed him and fergie waited. another thing its not like we signed him for one season, lets be patient and see what comes through.

    just a thought, is this what neccesitated the rumour that miguel veloso was wanted at trafford

  20. united shield

    3 October 2007 at 17:39

    Couldn’t have said it any better STEVE FROM CA. I don’t understand the frustration at our style of play as well as our players considering the circumstances that we had to deal with. Also, it’s funny how quickly people jump at conclusions when something negative comes along, and for that matter, when something good comes along as well…this should not be the way of Manchester United supporters. As I’ve always stressed, we should support our team through the good and the BAD. I think people should be more patient and take a neutral stance when looking at things, that way life would be much happier. Expectations and ambition is what makes our club great and what it is today, but too much of anything is never good.

    About Hargreaves, I’m sure he’s just going through a tough stretch at the moment, which is really unfortunate because he showed his commitment and enthusiasm everytime he was on the pitch. And the medical, well, even if a player had a clean bill of health in his entire career, they could easily suffer a nasty injury and never regain the same health again…footballers, like us, are still humans, just far more athletic. I don’t think any player should be judged until at least a full year in the team. In Nani and Anderson’s case, they should be given even more time considering they are still ridiculously young (they probably haven’t even finished puberty)…so cut them a little slack. There’s no guarantee they are going to be world-class players, but no doubt they will be very good players…at least good enough to be permanent first-team players in the future.

    After a terrible start to the season, we are starting to look really good…so be optimistic everyone. We can’t win every competition, every game, and score freely every time, but I’m sure there will be some memorable performances along the way and a trophy of some sort by the end of the season. UNITED FOR LIFE!

  21. Grognard

    3 October 2007 at 18:32

    I’m afraid this is a bit of an overreaction simply because you and all of us are very eager to see him play and perform as advertised. Being a huge Bayern Munich fan and a Canadian, I have followed Hargreaves with special interest his entire career. His injury history really comes down to two seasons where he had a number of ailments. Other than that he has been pretty healthy. When he does get injured though, he seems to follow the initial injury up with an other. They seem to come in bunches.

    Personally I think he is a tough kid but knees can be very bothersome and so I feel the caution United have shown is probably warranted. I for one cannot wait to see him patrol the pitch for us in the future. Not only is he a great defensive midfielder but his offensive skills are very underrated. He is also our answer when it comes to free kicks as I have seen him score a few crackers for Bayern from 25 yards out. I am not very patient about our team’s inability to crack open defences but I feel we all must be when it comes to Hargreaves. As far as injuries go, lets not assume this Owen will have the injury history of another Owen named Michael.

  22. squaretan

    3 October 2007 at 18:43

    No worries on him though. Hope he can get back in full form soon. But dont rush him back so fast. Let him heal
    100% then only put him back on the pitch. Till then, We still have many quality players at
    that department. Carrick and O’Shea can do the job. No worries on that. Just dont rush the lad
    back too soon! I also rest my case. Glory Glory Man Utd!

  23. Orgie

    3 October 2007 at 19:10

    Carrick and O’shea cannot do the job

  24. Shyam

    3 October 2007 at 19:35

    Carrick and O’shea did it for us last season…

  25. Shyam

    3 October 2007 at 19:45

    My say is that there was never been a case where one player was irreplacable in ManU as with Lampard in Chelsea..Till last season our midfield has been rotating between Carrick,Scholes,O’Shea,Fletcher and even Giggs..Defence also faced the same thing. Only fixed formation was in the attack where Rooney-Ronaldo was always present..
    We made some big money purchases and we all are keen to see them playing well but we need to have to do what Chelsea did with Ballack or Shevchenko!!..We are not run by Russian millions and Glazers have no special interest in Hargo..So let him take time to come back from injury. ManU still moves on…

  26. Shyam

    3 October 2007 at 19:51

    correcting one mistake **we all are keen to see them playing well but we need NOT have to do what Chelsea did with Ballack or Shevchenko!**

  27. David Staples

    3 October 2007 at 20:20

    Hargreaves was signed while he was still recovering from a major injury. That was a risk, but SAF is no dummy, and had to believe that Hargreaves was likely to return to top form, and I expect that will happen. After all, Hargreaves is a tough Canadian prairie boy.

  28. Grognard

    3 October 2007 at 21:57

    Regardless of our poor offensive form we still turn out winning results. Today Milan was shocked by Celtic and Liverpool lost at home to Marseilles. I think our problems are very small to that of the past two champions of the CL. I may be wrong on this one but I have feeling Rafa the Rotator could be putting himself in a position where he will have to look over his shoulder. Will Liverpool’s brass put up with their mediocrity in both the EPL and CL? We worry about winning 1-0 games but Liverpool haven’t scored in their last two home games and lost to far inferior Marseilles squad tonight. Football has really become a crap shoot of late where nothing should be taken for granted. What we can be thankful for so far this season is that we have had some luck on our side. It’s becoming clear to me that what should have been a four team race has now been reduced to us against Arsenal. Just as it should be.

  29. Jimmy

    3 October 2007 at 23:13

    It’s all a matter of circumstances. On the first two league games of the season we played fantastic football but we were unfortunate not to win. Despite this, we didn’t panic (like any other team would do) and then we started getting ‘lucky’, as some of you said. I don’t think it’s luck. Manchester United is just too big a club to panic after two bad results. And Hargreaves will return to help United win the Champions League this year.

  30. KingOfZamunda

    4 October 2007 at 01:38

    That’s a bold statement Jimmy- but I like it!! Damn right it’s circumstance and we are dealing with it miles better than any other club would dream of doing so, and as far as I’m concerned we could carry on 1-0ing it till the media hacks shut up shop on us and cry the death of United, don’t care at all as long as opponents come and fall by the wayside.

  31. syihin

    4 October 2007 at 04:33

    i dont think he is a crock,it is unfair for him,we must support the
    decision of SAF.I think all of you impatient fans must looking
    towards the crucial period and SAF want Hargo to be available on that
    time.Right now the midfield role can be deputised by Carrick and he
    did well too.So let the time goes by,Man U keep on scoring and
    winning,and Hargo get enough and comfortable time to recover,no
    rush.I rest my case…

    So i rest my case.

  32. bond

    4 October 2007 at 07:15

    have no coplaints abt the style of long as we get the 3 points am happy…who bothers abtthe style of play as it will come eventually…but how shocking is this news ?in
    his entire career he just played 50% of total games..
    @steve i never told anderson is waste of money..neither is carrick….
    my only concern is -i repeat-if we pay arnd 17 m for a plyer..
    shudnt we atleast ensured that he is there for most of games…????
    let time prove am wrong !!!

  33. Hugo

    4 October 2007 at 07:25

    How do you write such twaddle? One bad season of injuries (while still managing 30+ games) and suddenly the guy is a crock – how rediculous.

    ALL his recent injuries are reportedly stemming from his broken leg last season (just one of those things, now Man Utd can care for his health, it should get sorted properly)

    Write some facts please and it might become interesting

  34. Hiram Gakembu

    4 October 2007 at 07:54

    Hargreaves will recover and serve us well in time during this season. Red rants, your anayses here shows that Hargreaves only had 2 seasons plagued with an injury whil the others were generally o.k. As such, we should not panic. He will be fine and then hit the road. I am sure Michael Carrick will do the defensive midfield role well assisted by Scholes as has been happening of late. Now that Oshea is also back that position seems well covered. In fact, our main worry should be in the LFB where we only have Evra as the healthy guy. Or can Pique play in no. 3?

  35. Red Ranter

    4 October 2007 at 08:11

    I posed a few questions here that quite a few fans have been afraid to ask. Clearly this article was meant for discussion and I see what others think. Apart from that I did post facts taken off Wikipedia, so accusing me of not writing facts may be a tad unfair. All I did was present the facts and asked if you people, the readers, could string something out of it.

    That was the whole intent here.

  36. indianpunk

    4 October 2007 at 09:52

    Oh Oh Were In Trouble

    Carrick injury blow

    Michael Carrick has been ruled out for up to six weeks after fracturing his elbow during the Champions League game against AS Roma on Tuesday.

  37. bond

    4 October 2007 at 10:11

    try pique in that position!!!

  38. Red Ranter

    4 October 2007 at 10:11

    Surely, comparing his case with Roy Keane is a stretch don’t you think? Otherwise yes, fair points you make. I am not doubting him as a player, nor am I saying he shouldn’t have been signed. To be honest, I was happier this season when we signed Hargreaves than I was with Nani or Anderson. Hargreaves when fit would be our most important midfield signing in a long time – due respect to Carrick. I am throwing around questions for you all to debate and as you may have noticed from the post, I was thinking out loud so that I can get some perspective.

    I agree, I may have been clutching at straws and I hope that’s what it is.

    [David Staples & Grognard]
    Thanks for the reassurances on behalf of your Canadian brother. Hope it doesn’t happen like Neville (who by the way, was coming back to full fitness in ‘two weeks time’ for the past many months. Not that I am frustrated by his absence. I just don’t want Hargo to go down that road.)

    [Steve from CA]
    Good points mate! I too was impressed by the way Hargreaves seamlessly fitted into the United system from the word go.

    Good points again mate! But don’t get me wrong, I am not making accusations at the club about his return date. I just find it strange. Although, you never know — with the int’l break looming — SAF’s probably tried to rule him out of the games by bringing up the injury issue. 🙂

    [Everyone else]
    Thanks for your inputs as always.

  39. Tomas

    4 October 2007 at 10:25

    This Carrick injury is really bad news. If Hargo is really out in 4 weeks from now, we’ll have to rely on O’Shea getting us 9 points against Wigan and Middlesborough at OT and against Villa on the road. Hopefully Hargo is ready for the Arsenal clash, since O’Shea simply wouldn’t cut it for that one.

  40. Allan Olemo

    4 October 2007 at 10:45

    where as i want to agree that we rearly panic as a team,i must admit that wit both hargo and fletcher out and wit carrick joining them, theas dfntly a crisis in the midfield.i’d rather av o;shea @ the right bac bt not midfield.hargo is top class player n no matter the injuries.he was a gud sure h’ll be bac in less than a month

  41. Conor

    4 October 2007 at 19:09

    “Hopefully Hargo is ready for the Arsenal clash, since O’Shea simply wouldn’t cut it for that one”
    Oh tomas I beg to disagree…..
    O’Shea can cut it against Arsenal:)

  42. KingOfZamunda

    4 October 2007 at 20:33

    Red Ranter- fair play to your for pointing out you got the facts off of Wikipedia, but be sure to know that it isn’t the most accurate of sources. Also the questions that everyone is else afraid to ask meaning? Fergie’s track record of dud signings or Hargreaves injury prone-ness (which is an unfair characterisation of the lad)?

  43. I Bet Fair

    5 October 2007 at 00:19

    Pique in central midfield is not a bad call, he played the last 10 minutes at Everton there and looked born to the role. Great tackler and passer and those occasional rushes to the head where he dives in won’t prove so costly if he’s not he last man. He’s got he legs to do a bit of Scholesy’s running too.

  44. SimonHLA

    9 October 2007 at 00:56

    People like Bond really need to be better informed before posting ignorant statements. It does you and the club a disservice. The truth of the transfers is very different of course. As someone already pointed out Elano is a 26 year old costing 8M and Petrov a 28 year old costing 3.5m, therefore there is an important distinction between the 19 and 20 year olds Anderson and Nani. But in addition to this the numbers being quoted for Anderson i.e. 17 or 18M are wholly misleading. These prices are possible eventual prices based upon appearances and success. The reality is that Utd only paid 8m up front for each of the two youngsters. A fine price I think everyone will agree. As for Hargreaves we paid 17m for a player who many consider to be the finest defensive midfielder in Europe. Only Gattuso, Mascherano and Xavi could be mentioned in the same breath. Not such a bad price given the circumstances. As for his recent injury problems then the article is sensationalist………..Every player gets injured and his record really isn’t anything out of the ordinary.

  45. red_devil_rant

    12 October 2007 at 18:47

    Far as I’m concerned, Hargo will always be a great aquisition for the team. He will surely recover from all his injuries no matter how serious and prove all you doubting Thomas’ wrong.

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