Owen Lee Hargreaves plays in midfield for Manchester United and England.
Owen Hargreaves is the youngest of three children born to Margaret and Colin Hargreaves, who emigrated to Canada in the early 1980s from the United Kingdom. He grew up in the south western part of Calgary, and attended Glenbrook Elementary, Andrew Sibbald Elementary and Nickle Junior High. He left the last of these at the age of fourteen. For the next two years he was a pupil at Lord Beaverbrook High School.
Owen Hargreaves moved at the age of sixteen from Calgary Foothills to FC Bayern Munich on 1 July 1997. Hargreaves played in the Under-19 team for two and a half years before spending six months to Borussia Dortmund, but only after a penalty shoot-out in Dortmund’s Rote-Erde Stadium.
In the 2001/2002 season Hargreaves established himself as a first team regular, making 46 appearances in all. In spite of setbacks for the club in the form of a third place finish in the Bundesliga, a quarter final appearance in the Champions League and a Cup defeat by Schalke 04, the season proved to be a decisive one for Hargreaves as he emerged as a key player of the team.
Hargreaves was eligible to play international football for any one of the Home nations or for Canada, and had he not accepted selection at the time he did, would soon have been eligible for Germany under residency rules. On August 31, 2000, the then England under-21 manager, Howard Wilkinson called the 19-year-old into his squad for the match against Georgia. The game, played at the Riverside Stadium, Middlesbrough, ended in a 6-1 win for the home team. Further appearances for the Under-21s followed in friendlies against Italy and Spain.
Hargreaves’s international commitment to England was sealed when he first played a full international game on August 15, 2001 against the Netherlands at White Hart Lane. Hargreaves was the only player plying his trade outside the Premier League to be selected for England’s 2002 World Cup squad. Hargreaves was injured after just fifteen minutes of England’s second Group game against Argentina and had to be substituted.
Although he had not usually been part of the first choice team, he was selected for the England squads at Euro 2004 in Portugal and the 2006 World Cup in Germany despite criticism from sections of the press and public.
However, in a tournament in which England were generally regarded as having underachieved, he was, by the end of England’s participation, widely considered one of the few successes of the English squad, and he was named “Man of the Match” in the quarter final against Portugal, the game in which England were eliminated after a penalty shootout, Hargreaves having been the only successful English penalty taker.
He continued his rise in the eyes of English supporters in picking up the Man of the Match award in England’s 4-0 win over Greece on 18 August 2006, where he first took over the number seven shirt of former captain David Beckham.
In May 2007, it was announced that Hargreaves would join Manchester United on July 1, 2007, after almost a year of negotiations between Bayern Munich and United for a fee of around £17 million. Hargreaves was finally unveiled as a Manchester United player on July 1, having signed a four-year contract with the club. He was then revealed to the press on July 9, along with fellow newcomer Nani. Hargreaves was given the number 4 shirt at Old Trafford, the number previously worn by Gabriel Heinze.
Hargreaves made his Manchester United debut in a friendly against Peterborough United on August 4, coming on as a second half substitute in United’s 3-1 victory. He made his first Premier League appearance in Manchester United’s third game of the season, in the derby match away to Manchester City in a 1-0 defeat.