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Barry out, Hargreaves in?

11 May 2010 11:04:47

Barry out, Hargreaves in?

OWEN Hargreaves could be a shock inclusion when Fabio Capello names his preliminary World Cup squad today after Gareth Barry was ruled out of the tournament in South Africa. England coach, Capello, will name an initial squad of 30 players, which will be cut down to 23 by June 1. Hargreaves is back in the frame because of the ankle ligament damage suffered by Barry, which Capello has confirmed will take too long to heal to make the tournament. But the former Bayern Munich midfielder still represents an enormous gamble having played barely a minute of first team football since September 2008, following a career-saving double knee operation. Hargreaves came on as a last minute substitute in United's 1-0 win at Sunderland this month touching the ball once. Should he be included in Capello's 30-man squad then it is sure to infuriate Sir Alex Ferguson, who has carefully managed the £17m man's recovery. Push Hargreaves needed operations on both knees at the world-renowned Steadman-Hawkins clinic in Colorado to cure long-standing tendonitis problems. Despite United expecting him to return by last December at the latest, it took until March before he played his first game for the reserves. Follow James Robson on Twitter That immediately led to speculation that he would make a late push for the World Cup, but Ferguson has refused to rush him back into the first team picture. His late appearance against Sunderland could hardly be used as a barometer for his fitness to take part in South Africa, but Capello appears to want to give England's best player in the World Cup every chance of making the plane. The good news for Hargreaves is heartbreak for Barry, who has proven himself a valuable part of Capello's plans. The City midfielder picked up the injury in last week's 1-0 defeat to Tottenham, which killed Roberto Mancini's hopes of Champions League qualification.


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