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Last Updated: Tuesday, 30 January 2007, 09:53 GMT
Owen Hargreaves column
Owen Hargreaves
By Owen Hargreaves
England and Bayern Munich midfielder

The current transfer window closes on Wednesday.

The window opens twice a year - in January and again in the summer - and it is part and parcel of football.

Fans want to hear about who is on the move - and with the internet something that is published spreads across the world instantaneously.

Stefan Effenberg in action for Bayern Munich
When I was a young player I learnt from watching Stefan Effenberg

There is obviously an appetite for speculation but I don't think players take too much notice.

I have become accustomed to stories about my future over recent months but my focus has been much more on returning to fitness and playing again after breaking my leg four months ago.

When I was a young player I watched the senior players at Bayern Munich to see how they handled the media.

Stefan Effenberg was an extremely influential figure at the club and very charismatic.

A lot of people said he was arrogant but inside the dressing-room he commanded the utmost respect and often took a lot of heat for the team.

I also think that a lot of young players could learn from watching how David Beckham handles the media.

He is extremely careful with his words and extremely diplomatic.

The way the media is nowadays something said can easily be turned into something else and then a player all of a sudden finds that he has an issue to deal with.

Meanwhile recently Franz Beckenbauer, the head of Germany's 2006 World Cup organising committee, said he would support a bid from England to host the next World Cup which is set to be staged in Europe, in 2018.

If England was to host the tournament then it would present the country with a massive opportunity.

For me as a player the 2006 World Cup was a chance to present myself to a wider public but for Germany it was a chance to redefine how it is perceived.

During last year's World Cup a lot of the England players told me they could not believe how beautiful Germany was.

My cousin came over from Wales for a week and said that she found Germany and its people so lovely that she would now seriously consider it as a holiday destination.

Owen Hargreaves in action for England
If I could choose a number for England it would be number seven but I will take what I can get

I think that a lot of the people who came to Germany last year had a stereotypical view of the country but left realising just how much beautiful countryside there is and how safe and clean it is.

The people are very friendly but it often takes time to develop a relationship.

However, many people I spoke to last year remarked on how optimistic and friendly the German people were during the tournament.

I think that they helped to create such a great atmosphere through the tournament that it helped the young German team reach the semi-finals.

In Germany they reckon that whatever Beckenbauer says then happens.

I think he understands that only a few countries in the world have the passion for football that England has.

A World Cup takes years of preparation - the tournament itself is the icing on the cake - and in Germany the standard of organisation was exceptional.

But I think Beckenbauer knows that a World Cup can have a much greater importance than what happens out on the pitch.


Hey Owen, I'm a Derby County supporter and I was wondering if the Championship is watched in Germany and how their second tier compares with the equivalent in England?
Nick, England

Good question.

A few teams are watched on an international basis - the likes of Barcelona, Manchester United, AC Milan - but in every major European country I think that most fans think their league is the best.

The German second division will be watched by German fans but probably not English fans. The Championship is not broadcast live in Germany - just the top Premiership games - and so they probably do not know much about it.

Was it hard for you to learn German and would you consider yourself as fluent as native Germans?
Paul Bates, England

I don't think you ever speak a language you learn later in life as well as the first one you learnt while growing up.

My German is fine. I can read and write, communicate and do interviews without a problem.

I was still relatively young when I started learning German and at first I thought I would never pick it up but then it came relatively easy. I learnt in about a year.

Owen, I have noticed in many of the photos you seem to be wearing a sweatband on your right arm. Is there any particular reason for this? Would you wear it if you were in the Premiership?
Phil Standish, Ashton In Makerfield, UK

I used to wear sweatbands when I played basketball as a youngster.

The England kitman at the 2002 World Cup had some and I started to wear one in the friendlies leading up to the finals. I liked the design of it.

I wore one at the games in the World Cup but then I got injured and when I returned to the England set-up I did not see any.

Sometimes I now have tape on my wrist. The first time I wore tape I was in the youth team at Bayern.

I was in the side along with current Rapid Vienna skipper Steffen Hofmann and we were preparing for an important game at a youth championship.

We both put tape on our wrists and I started doing that for a lot of important games. Although I'm not very superstitious it has kind of stuck over time.

How much difference does the 'right football boot' make to your performances?
Alan, UK

As a footballer your working tools are your feet and I think it makes a big difference.

It is important to feel comfortable. I wear insoles and without them - or with the wrong size in the boots - it can lead to real problems. It can, for example, lead to tension in the muscles in your calves, thighs and back.

When the new England shirt comes out in Febuary I want your name and number on the back. However, I was wondering what number shirt will you be wearing - will it continue to be seven?
Adam Nixon, England

I don't know - I think that is down to the manager.

I grew up wearing a number seven when I was a kid but when I moved to Germany I did not have that number. I was given 23 when I broke into the first team at Bayern and still have that number now.

To go back to number seven was great when I wore it for England and if I could choose a number that would be it but there is a lot of competition and I will take what I can get.

  • Every week Owen will be answering a selection of your questions in his column. So, using the postform at the top of this column on the right, send us your questions and we will put some of them to the England international.

  • Owen Hargreaves has been named Nationwide England Player of the Year.

    He had already been voted best England player at the World Cup.

    And now the 26-year-old has scooped a second individual award after receiving 29% of the vote in a fans' poll conducted on the official Football Association website, beating off competition from Steven Gerrard (18%) and Peter Crouch (15%).

    Send Owen your questions using this form and read his answers to a selection of them next week
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    The BBC may edit your comments and not all emails will be published. Your comments may be published on any BBC media worldwide.

    Beckenbauer will back England bid
    28 Jan 07 |  Internationals


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