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Hargreaves back in action for United

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19 Mar 2010 08:54:24

Hargreaves back in action for United

After 18 months and countless false dawns, Owen Hargreaves made his long-awaited United return on Thursday night, playing 45 minutes for the reserves. And the England international immediately set his sights on helping United win a record fourth successive Premier League title. Playing his first game since a career-saving double knee operation at the famed Steadman-Hawkins clinic in Colorado, the 29-year-old also refused to rule out this summer's World Cup. Hargreaves said: I'm not coming back just to be back. I want to have as much impact as in my first season that means a lot to me. There is a lot of talk about the World Cup. I will have to take it day by day, but in a perfect world I'd love to be a part of it. I have to do what's right for me, United and then England. The former Bayern Munich midfielder hadn't kicked a ball in anger since a 1-1 draw with Chelsea in September 2008. Fears have grown about his future with one comeback after another postponed since the start of the season. So the sight of him in the red of United albeit wearing No11 rather than his customary No4 - will have been a huge relief to both Sir Alex Ferguson and Fabio Capello. It was also a relief to Hargreaves who revealed the agony of his road to recovery. I don't think I could have anticipated the rehab taking as long as it has, he said. It's been frustrating, but you have to deal with it. You take it step by step and cannot force things. This is the first step. It's been disappointing for me. I came here and had a good first season. I came back early for the second season to be ready, but it set me back from there. Now I'm looking forward to running out at Old Trafford again. While Capello will hope last night's promising display in the 2-0 win over Burnley will see Hargreaves quickly return to the first team picture at United, Ferguson will just be delighted to see the £17m man playing again, having initially expected to have him in his squad before Christmas. Hargreaves was replaced by Magnus Eikrem at half time, while goals from Fabien Brandy and Corry Evans in each half secured a 2-0 win for United. More good news for the Old Trafford boss is the imminent return of John O'Shea to boost United's European and title run-ins. The Ireland international is due to return at the start of April after four months on the sidelines since picking up a dead leg in the controversial World Cup play-off with France last November. Ferguson says the return of the versatile Irishman will be crucial to his side's hopes in the Premier League and Champions League. John O'Shea has played everywhere, he said. We are missing him, but he will be back for the beginning of April. He had a difficult injury. It seems a simple thing to be out with a dead leg, but he's been out for four months.  But he's on the way back which will be good news for us. How much impact will Hargreaves have on the rest of the season? Tell us your views


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