Owen Hargreaves: Why He Will Not Be Able To Live Up to High Expectations

Rohan SubraSenior Analyst ISeptember 23, 2011

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 21:  Owen Hargreaves of Manchester City in action during the Carling Cup Third Round match between Manchester City and Birmingham City at the Etihad Stadium on September 21, 2011 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Some of the current talk about Manchester City surrounds Owen Hargreaves' recent goal against Birmingham in the Carling Cup. It was a nice goal, no doubt about it, as Hargreaves powerfully placed the ball past the outstretched hand of Colin Doyle from 25 yards out.

With a goal from a player who has been injured for so long, tabloids and papers will inevitably claim that Owen Hargreaves is "back".

But can this really be concluded from a single, albeit nice, goal scored against a Championship team in the Carling Cup?

No, it really can't.

Nobody is denying that Hargreaves is a super-talented footballer, and that without his terrible injury setbacks, he could have engraved his name in the history books.

But that was in the past.

The Englishman/Canadian/Welshman is now 30, and in January he will reach 31, but expectations are still high. Such a turnaround is almost unprecedented; virtually impossible for even some of the best players in the game.

But now people expect Owen Hargreaves, a thirty year old who has just moved to a new club, to put his four year absence from competition behind him and shine.

Plus, where would he even get much playing time in the Manchester City squad, the deepest in the whole Premier League?.

Their midfield features Yaya Toure, Gareth Barry, Samir Nasri and David Silva, four world-class players who would start for almost any team.

Maybe the young, healthy Hargreaves of 2000 could break into the team, but the current player  couldn't possibly see more than 15 or 20 minutes a match.

None of this is the fault of Hargreaves himself, though. An injury is an injury. However, he did seem angry at the Manchester United medical staff. ESPN Soccernet reports:

"I've had to be a guinea pig for a lot of these treatments. But when you're left to try to make something of a difficult situation, it's not really an option to say: 'Let's sit it out and rest for six months.' I'm not a guy who wants to bitch and complain. I was trying to make the most of it, but it deteriorated over the season and we had to do these injections. My knee, my tendon, was never the same."

Not only that, but he said that he shouldn't have taken injections that the staff gave him. He also claimed that they told him that those injections would not have side-effects, but Hargreaves stated "that was not the case."

He said the Manchester City staff are great, which could well be a shot at that of United's.

Through hardly any fault of his own, Hargreaves isn't in such a great place right now. Though many seem really optimistic about him, it's not really likely that he can perform that well while at the Eastlands.

In his case, I think the injury was too bad for him to ever get his career back on track, even in the future.