Owen Hargreaves makes Manchester United's 25-man Premier League squad

01 September 2010 05:50
Hargreaves, 29, has yet to return to United's Carrington training ground after flying to the United States almost two months ago for specialist advice on the knee problems that have plagued his career since his last Premier League start against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in September 2008.

With all top-flight clubs obliged to submit their 25-man squads to the Premier League ahead of Wednesday's 5pm deadline, Ferguson had admitted at the weekend that he was still pondering "whether I can afford to allot one of the 25 places to Owen as he continues to battle for full fitness".

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Hargreaves' future remains in doubt, though, with senior figures at United still unclear about the England player's likely return date from the United States.

Sources close to the player have been reluctant to discuss Hargreaves's condition and, having played just 45 minutes for the reserves and less than one minute as a Premier League substitute in almost two years, his continuing absence is troubling for a player whose contract at United expires at the end of the season.

The £19 million buy from Bayern Munich is still expected to sidelined for several weeks at least, but Ferguson's decision to register the player at least enables him to target a return to first-team duty before January.

Despite earlier suggestions that the new Premier League demand for a 25-man squad could result in high-profile players being omitted and left in the wilderness, the reality proved somewhat different.

Manchester City's success in offloading a series of established players during the transfer window, notably Robinho, Craig Bellamy and Stephen Ireland, ensured that Roberto Mancini was able to name a squad including forward Roque Santa Cruz, who had earlier been left out of the club's squad for the Europa League qualifying round.

Tottenham were also able to include deadline day signing Rafael van der Vaart after the Premier League ratified his 11th-hour arrival from Real Madrid on the final day of the transfer window.

A number of clubs, including Liverpool, Everton and Aston Villa, submitted squads with fewer than 25 players. Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson named just 21 players in his submission, while have selected just two goalkeepers - Brad Friedel and Brad Guzan.

Wolves manager Mick McCarthy chose not to select the highly-rated winger Michael Kightly in his 25-man squad after conceding that the 24 year-old, sidelined with a knee injury since last November, remains unfit for selection.

McCarthy said: 'It will take as long as it takes for Michael. There's no time limit on it.

"When he's ready, we'll be able to discuss the possibility of going out on loan, which he can do before we have a chance to revise the squad in January."

How squads work

»Premier League rules state that each club must submit a squad, maximum 25 players, containing at least eight home-grown players (players trained in England or Wales for 36 months before the age of 21) with an additional unlimited number of players aged 21 or under on January 1 of that year.

»Clubs who submit a squad of fewer than 25 players can add free agents should they be acquired and Premier League rules also allow for changes in 'exceptional circumstances' such as a shortage of goalkeepers.

»However, once submitted, the 25-man squad cannot be altered until the opening of the next transfer window on January 1.

Source: Telegraph