Manchester United midfielder Owen Hargreaves has confirmed that he has not given up hope of making Fabio Capello’s World Cup squad.
Hargreaves is set to return to action against Burnley’s reserves on Thursday night having not played since September 2008, and it is hoped he will return to the first-team before too long.
“The World Cup is an incentive,” he told the Daily Telegraph. “Absolutely, but I need to see progress now, pretty quick, for the World Cup to become even a realistic option.
“[Capello] was happy with how I played for England. When he saw me play for Man United, he was happy with how I played. Whether in Germany or England, a manager has always played me especially to win big games.
“Maybe he sees that and would like me to have an impact on the World Cup. I would love that.”
Hargreaves believes the tendinitis problem that has affected both knees arose after he tried to return too quickly from a broken leg during his time at Bayern Munich.
“I didn’t have the same quality muscle as before,” he said. “Instead of muscles taking the shock absorption, my tendon was. But when I get an ache, I don’t stop. ‘Oh yeah, it hurts!’ I kept playing.
“It wasn’t dealt with the way it should have been initially. I saw so-called specialists who said, ‘This is what you need and you will have absolutely no reaction’ and I had a massive reaction. You like to think you will get the best advice possible but that is not always possible.
“I could never have imagined in my darkest dreams something like this would happen to me. My athletic ability has taken me everywhere I wanted to go, from Canada to Germany, playing for England, playing for Man United. To have that temporarily taken away is humbling.”