Has anyone seen Owen Hargreaves?

Question Mark

Back in January, Hargreaves said he was taking a break from the game. Is it a break that lasts for ever?

When Owen Hargreaves left Manchester United for their city rivals it was deemed an act of betrayal by many.

But to betray you have to do something, and in the case of Hargreaves, his time at City wasn’t exactly spent doing that. Not if the “something” in question was playing football.

When he left the Etihad at the end of last season, he issued his now regular declaration of fitness. And yet this time there were no takers. Or if there were, they were of no interest to the former England international.

Speaking in January, Hargreaves said he had no intention of playing in the lower leagues and that instead he would be taking a year out to decide his future.

At 31, and with a body many would call fragile and most would call unlucky, it seemed both a good decision and a bad one.

Good in the sense that lower league football would be no less demanding on a player who got injured on one United-comeback seemingly as a result of a run and a pass against Wolves. And bad in that whatever good he had done in his regular training would be wasted with a year out of the game.

Hargreaves is well aware he may never play football again. It is something he appears, at least outwardly, to accept.

Michael Owen, another player beset by injuries although not to the extent of Hargreaves, announced his impending retirement last month. It was an act of acceptance the former Bayern Munich man appears unable to do, not yet anyway.

With no intention of dropping down a level, he is unlikely to be getting a call from a top flight manager here any time soon.

There has been talk of a move to the MLS. But for now it remains just talk.

This wouldn’t be an article about Hargreaves if we didn’t bemoan what might have been. But as he seemingly disappears from the football radar once and for all, it may be more apt to focus on his achievements: impossible dreams for most who play the game much longer than he did.

You sense, from what we have heard from the player in the past – be it through interviews or punditry – that he would make a great coach.

His fate decreed that he be an observer for much of the last few years. What must he have taken in during that time, and how much is he willing to one day give back?

One thing is for sure. Should he wish, he could teach players to enjoy every single moment of their careers.

Urgency can be born from that knowledge, the urgency that it doesn’t last for ever, that success should be seized whenever and wherever it can.

Can you see Hargreaves ever playing again?  And if not, would he make a good coach?

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