ENGLAND CAN WIN IT

Former England midfielder Owen Hargreaves has said that he feels that England have the necessary ammunition to succeed at the Euro 2012. England went into the tournament definitely not as one of the favourites, but they have done well to emerge as the winners of their group after victories over Sweden and Ukraine in the final two group games.

As a result, they have avoided Spain in the quarter-finals of the tournament, but will still have to face the 2006 world champions in the form of Italy. Many have said that the quarter-finals have been the nemesis for England, but Owen Hargreaves believes that this England team has what it takes to succeed at this tournament.

England have never done well in a major tournament since winning the 1966 World Cup that was held at home. England have been eliminated from a major competition like the Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup on penalties at this stage. Due to the fact that they will be facing an inform Italy side that has Andrea Pirlo totally dictating play against the opposition, many have suggested that this will be the end of the road for England at the euro 2012. The former England midfielder Owen Hargreaves differs from this opinion.

“The 2004 and 2006 teams were stronger individually but if these guys can play as a group and maximise, then there is potential. It is about playing well as a team and working together. They look like they are doing that right now. Getting to the quarter-final is not an achievement but people look at it as just reaching a quarter-final. You need to look at the fashion in which you went out. In 2002 we lost 2-1 to a Brazil side, that went on to win it, in 35C heat,” said Hargreaves.

HARGREAVES MOVES ON

Manchester city have revealed that they will not be offering a new contract to former Manchester United midfielder Owen Hargreaves, who has been part of the title winning team this season.

Manchester city stunned the Premier league world by announcing the signing of Owen Hargreaves this season in order to make up for the lack of quality defensive midfielders at the club. It was a strange decision by Manchester city given that Hargreaves was just released from Manchester United after failing to recover from his injury problems.

The Canadian born England international has suffered a number of knee injuries in recent seasons, which has limited him to a handful of starts in the last few years.

It was quite clearly a gamble by Roberto Mancini to take on Hargreaves into the squad. He has played just four matches for City this season. It is now expected that the midfielder will announce his retirement from the game after failing to make any progress in the last three years to come back fit. The midfielder was a £ 17 million signing from Bayern Munich for Manchester United a few years ago. He made a just 18 league starts for Manchester United in three seasons before moving on.

“We took a gamble on Owen because he was such a fantastic player. We thought we could try to get him fit in two or three months and then he would be able to play. But it hasn’t worked out quite like that. When you have a player who hasn’t played for two years and he starts to train every day there are small problems all the time. Problems in the knees or the hamstrings. So Owen hasn’t been able to play when we have needed him,” said Roberto Mancini regarding the decision on Owen Hargreaves.

OWEN OFF ON LOAN

Owen Hargreaves was released from his contract by Manchester United last year after he suffered a number of injuries which restricted his abilities on the field.

This gave a chance for Manchester City to scoop up the talented youngster for itself. This was a calculated gamble by the City management as Hargreaves was an influential player for club as well as country.

But their plan didn’t work out as planned and he only made 4 appearances for the club, in which he scored only once. According to City management, they had hoped that they would be able to get him match-ready in a couple of weeks but after a hiatus of nearly two years, small problems kept cropping up.
As City aren’t expected to renew their contract with the English midfielder after his injuries, the rumor mills are abuzz with gossip that he might be moving to Reading on a loan.

Reading is a lower division club and because of the lesser pressure, Hargreaves could return to match-ready health quite soon. Getting a player from the most respected league in the country might seem very ambitious for a second division club, but a similar deal was almost finalized with another player from Robert Mancini’s side.

This, therefore, might not be very far-fetched. Another reason that Brian McDermott, the side’s manager, could be looking to get Hargreaves on board is that Mikele Leigterwood has had a recurring thigh problem.

A number of people, however, aren’t convinced that Reading can afford the high wages of the Canadian-born midfielder. These people believe that Hargreaves will be taken on by Reading in a pay-as-you-play scheme. This would be beneficial to the club, as they would have to pay less money; it would also benefit Hargreaves giving him more incentive to get back into shape soon and play more matches.