A fully fit Owen Hargreaves would walk into just about any Premier League starting XI – and you have to give the former England star enormous credit for refusing to give up his long struggle against injury when Manchester United allowed him to become a free agent at the end of his contract in May.

With Roberto Macini considering the option of giving Hargreaves a pay per play deal at Manchester City, it would be a remarkable comeback for the 30-year-old who has fought a lonely battle to prove his fitness.

As I have said before, if Hargreaves  completes his comeback from injury it will be football’s real-life version of Rocky.

I would like to think that even the most hardened Unted fan will secretly be wishing the gutsy midfielder a successful return to the game if he does make the switch to Eastlands.But the reality is Hargreaves will be vilified by some United fans if he does end up wearing blue – and that it is a blind hatred I refuse to support.

Voted England’s best player at the World Cup in Germany in 2006, Hargreaves was one of United’s heroes in the 2008 Champions League Final triumph over Chelsea and he would certainly have stayed at Old Trafford if he was given the chance. Yes I would rather Hargreaves made his comeback almost anywhere else. But no real football fan can bedgrudge a true professional like Owen Hargreaves the right to carry on playing at any club.

With or without Hargreaves, the highlight of this football season is going to be the battle for supremacy between United and City . . .  and as the champions showed when it all kicked off in the Community Shield, the Reds have lost none of their hunger for silverware.


Hargreaves used YouTube to prove his fitness . . .