Hargreaves joins up with first team
Owen Hargreaves has been handed a boost by manager Sir Alex Ferguson after he pulled him out of the reserves to train with United's first team. The 29-year-old was scheduled to continue his comeback from major knee surgery with another appearance for the second string against Burnley at Accrington. He played his first game for 18 months in the reserves against the Clarets last week but will not be joining Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side tonight. "Owen won't play for the reserves tonight," Ferguson told www.manutd.com. "He's going to be training with the first team and we'll see where that takes him. "We're keen to get him back involved because he's an experienced player and will be a valuable addition for us in the run-in, when having a strong, fit squad is vital." Hargreaves is only eligible for the Barclays Premier League as he was not registered for the Champions League knockout phase because of uncertainty over his recovery. And the player himself has admitted there were times during his long fight for fitness that he wondered whether he would ever play again. "It is only human to think that way," he said. "The longest injury before that was when I broke my leg at Bayern Munich and I was out for a couple of months. "Football is a physical game and injuries are part of it. But I could never imagine having one that has impacted on me so much. "I thought - everyone thought - I would be fit for the start of the season. It didn't materialise. "It has been a pretty humbling experience and I am sure many people doubted me, but anybody who knows me, knows that what I set my mind to, I get." Renowned Colorado-based surgeon Dr Richard Steadman told the midfielder his knees were in a worse state than he had ever come across in 35 years of practising. And, although Hargreaves has reported a vast improvement, he still experiences discomfort and there is a chance he will never be fully clear of the problem. "I wouldn't say I am pain-free and I don't know if I can play through it," he said. "My training has improved over the last weeks and that is a very positive sign for me. I believe that it will continue to improve and progress. "But I am still in the process of getting some injections to try to manage the pain because if I didn't have any I would have played at the beginning of the season."
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