Both Owen Hargreaves and Jonathan Woodgate have recently suffered yet another injury setback in their careers which has been riddled with them. It is a devastating blow for not only Manchester United and Tottenham, but England in particular.
Sir Alex Ferguson is uncertain of Hargreaves’ comeback which seems to be delayed time and time again:
“He will not be ready for the start of the season. I do not know when he will be back.”
As for Tottenham’s Woodgate, his manager Harry Redknapp believes his centre-back is facing a make-or-break month if he is to be involved for much of the coming season:
“It’s make or break for Jonathan now. He has got to come back and play. If he is not ready for the start of the season it will be difficult for him.
“When he gets the boots on and starts playing hopefully he will be alright. He’s a fantastic player; one of the best centre-halves around. We just take it day by day with him and see how he progresses.”
Both Ferguson and Redknapp have a tremendous amount of respect for their injury-prone stars and know all about their qualities as players, so it is a shame that their clubs and England have missed out on their talent because of their failing fitness.
Three Lions boss Fabio Capello could have done with the pair in South Africa as the defence and midfield had its problems during England’s abysmal World Cup campaign.
After the tournament many were quick to criticise the likes of John Terry and Matthew Upson who were torn apart by a young and impressive German side. So it is a shame that during his career Woodgate never truly reached the potential that attracted Real Madrid to him back in 2004 as his career has been so interrupted, but when he is fit he is one of the better English centre-backs and is a lot quicker than most who play in that position…when he’s not on crutches of course.
England’s holding midfielder during the tournament was Gareth Barry, who had his injury problems going into the tournament and was probably at some fault for at least two of the goals against Joachim “Jogi” Löew’s side.
It is a great shame that Hargreaves, 29, has not been fit to play in the holding role as I believe he is a much more accomplished player in the position than Barry, who only seems to be able to pass backwards. But Hargeaves has only played four games for Manchester United over the past two seasons and United may seek to replace him as it seems as though he will never truly be over his problems.
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The England fans never really took to the former Bayern Munich man initially and originally many questioned why former England coach Sven Goran Eriksson repeatedly picked him. But he impressed during the 2006 World Cup where many started to realise how vital it is to have a spoiler in midfield doing the dirty work allowing the attacking players to do what they do best. His performances prompted Fergie to make a move for him that summer and although the player worked hard to force a move to Old Trafford, he would have to wait a further 12 months to secure a deal as Bayern refused to sanction the sale.
Let’s not forget that injuries have also robbed us of England’s best finishers in recent times, Michael Owen. The former Newcastle forward is England’s fourth most prolific forwards for his country of all time and has scored 40 goals in 89 caps. But injuries and lack of playing time is the main reason behind Capello omitting him from his squads (he still somehow justifies Emile Heskey’s place, go figure that one out).
However, many argue that the Italian has been wrong to do this in the past and even if he wasn’t to be a Three Lions starter again I’d much rather see the likes of Owen coming off of the bench when England need a goal that Heskey or Peter Crouch.
Is there any other players fans think we have been robbed of as a nation for injuries or any other reasons?