Mystery over Hargreaves exit
Owen Hargreaves' flimsy hopes of an 11th hour World Cup call up ended with an early mystery Old Trafford exit. England boss Fabio Capello names his provisional 30-man squad for South Africa tomorrow. Hargreaves had hoped a last day appearance for the Reds might see him sneak in the back door and into the Italian's thoughts. The 29-year-old has endured a torrid time with injuries but made his first United appearance for 20 months last week against Sunderland. It was nothing more than a 30-second cameo appearance in added on time at the Stadium of Light, but it revived hopes he might be looked on as a fresh-legged addition to Capello's midfield. However, he wasn't in Sir Alex Ferguson's 17-man line-up on duty against Stoke and he was pictured grim-faced leaving Old Trafford early. Wayne Rooney's outstanding personal campaign also ended in torment, but at least Fergie was able to report that the 24-year-old talisman will be fine for the World Cup. Double PFA and Football Writers' Footballer of the Year, Rooney (below) was subbed after 76 minutes against Stoke and came off wincing with a groin injury. But Ferguson had good news for Capello. "Wayne has aggravated his groin again. I don't think it is serious. He will be OK for England," he reported. But it was double agony for Rooney, who was also voted United players' and fans' Player of the Year last week. He went into the final day of the league campaign level pegging with Chelsea's Didier Drogba on 26 league goals in the race for the Golden Boot. But while Rooney drew a blank in United's 4-0 victory against Stoke, his Ivory Coast rival stormed ahead to steal the personal honour with a hat- trick against Wigan.
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