Two major knee operations, more than 12 months on the sidelines and a long, long fight to regain his fitness. Owen Hargreaves has every reason to be downbeat. ManUtd.com found him feeling anything but at Carrington this week...
You stayed in America for your rehabilitation. Did it help being away from United and everything you missed out on here?
Absolutely. If you have a muscle injury you’re out for maybe two weeks, but you’re focused on getting back in a short space of time. With an injury of this severity, both physically and mentally it’s important that you try and do everything you can and be really focused on your aims. Being here, the football and playing side of it is so important, I’d have been confronted with it on a daily basis. For someone like me, who can’t play for an extended period of time it would have been really tough. It was better being in an environment where I could focus on getting well, do my training and have no distractions. It worked very well. In fact, it was absolutely perfect.
What was an average day like over there?
It varied, obviously. In the days after surgery with the brace on, I’d be trying to get around on crutches in the winter which was tricky enough! Then I’d go to the clinic and try and bend my knee even just a couple of degrees. The first 6-8 weeks, I could barely bend it at all. I’d do physiotherapy work twice a day, in the morning and afternoon. It was the same procedure for about two months after my second operation. Slowly after that I’d do a bit more and make sure the tendon had healed, so that meant seeing the surgeon at various stages to get his input. It was all about trying to give myself a healthy knee again.
What was your inspiration, what drove you on in the tough days?
I didn’t have too many dark times, I tried to be as positive as I could. It’s not in my nature to be negative. Maybe for one day I might have said, ‘why me?’, but, you know, those questions lead to nothing. In life we all have experiences, good and bad. And sometimes I think you learn more from the bad ones. Ideally, I’d wish I wouldn’t have had to go through it. But I have had to get through. I’ve learnt a lot, met some wonderful people, and hopefully it will improve me in the future. It’s my aim to use this experience to my benefit.
Has the experience changed you in any way?
Yeah, I think it has. I think mentally, people who have struggled through