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Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 May 2007, 09:15 GMT 10:15 UK
Owen Hargreaves column
Owen Hargreaves column
By Owen Hargreaves
England and Bayern Munich midfielder

The FA Cup final is set up perfectly.

Chelsea against Manchester United, the two best teams in England, contesting the first showpiece occasion at the glorious new Wembley.

I've had the honour of a sneak preview of the stadium and it really is fabulous, although there was one thing missing.

A place like that needs a big match and a big crowd and it is going to get just that on Saturday.

I can't wait to play there for England in front of a full house to see what it's really like.

Because I'm injured, looking forward to big games like that is all I have to focus on when all I want to do is get out there and play football.

It's that time of the season when things are really getting interesting and as well as the FA Cup there are other domestic cup finals, the Uefa Cup, the Champions League final and the conclusion to league campaigns with big matches left, right and centre.

But as well as the frustration of having to be a bad spectator, there's the frustration that Bayern Munich have nothing to play for.

It's a bit of a shock to the system after three doubles in four years.

We're playing for nothing and that's rare and it also means there's a strange feeling to things. It's a bit flat.

And to add insult to injury, literally in my case, there's an exciting finish to the Bundesliga season but we're just looking on.

At one stage last weekend scores meant Schalke had the title won, but come the final whistle it had all turned around and now it is advantage Stuttgart going into the last weekend.

I can't see Stuttgart blowing it, but I've been in this business long enough to know anything can happen.

Take Paul Jewell leaving Wigan less than a day after keeping them in the Premiership and Carlos Tevez scoring that vital goal at Manchester United.

He has been instrumental in West Ham staying up, looks like a wonderful player and is always smiling and always competing.

As for all the other stuff going on around him, there will be things to be said in the coming weeks but that is for others to decide on and sort out off the pitch.

As a player I think it's worth taking a step back to appreciate what Tevez the footballer has done on the pitch.

And that's what I'm looking forward to seeing in the FA Cup final as well, great players performing to the best of their abilities in a one-off match.

Any final is always special for the fans and players.

This one promises to be a really historic occasion.


Who were your boyhood footballing idols and is there anyone in the current game that you look up to?
Simon Rigler, New Zealand

As a kid in Canada I didn't grow up watching a lot of football, it was all north American sports and the likes of Michael Jordan for me - he was someone I really admired.

As for the football on TV, Liverpool were the big team then and Steve McManaman and John Barnes were key figures I enjoyed watching.

Once I came to Europe there was Zinedine Zidane and David Beckham who were favourites, and now I'd have to say the players I admire the most are Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka.

Who was your favourite player at Bayern Munich when you were there as a youngster?
Marco, Germany

There were some wonderful players and personalities when I first arrived at Bayern, but the one who left the greatest impression was Stefan Effenberg.

The way he was in the dressing room, the way he presented himself and the fact he was always fabulous in the most important game.

You need your top players to perform on the biggest stage and that's what makes a great game. He was exceptional.

I know you said you grew up playing other sports, but did you ever play lacrosse - Canada's national pastime?
Rob Howard, USA

I thought hockey was Canada's national pastime!

I know a lot of people play lacrosse in Canada, a game where there's not a lot of protection where they like to whack each other, but I never got involved.

There were too many other things to be getting on with like basketball and football which I enjoyed.

After watching you play I realised you're extremely fit and keep running for the whole game. How do you achieve your fitness levels?
Adam McCue, Ireland

I think a lot of it is in the DNA, but I do take care of myself and I eat very healthily.

I don't eat junk and can barely eat fast food anymore, it has no taste, and my body is so used to eating fish, fruit, pasta, meat and vegetables, that when I don't eat healthily I get a bit of a negative reaction.

There's training as well, I have a runner's physique and I'm not too heavy so I can move well and keep on going.

  • 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.

    Send Owen your questions using this form and read his answers to a selection of them next week.
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