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Page last updated at 10:15 GMT, Friday, 24 September 2010 11:15 UK

Owen Hargreaves back in training with Manchester United

Owen Hargreaves
Hargreaves made one brief appearance last season

Owen Hargreaves is back in training with Manchester United as he seeks to start his first match for two years.

The England midfielder has been plagued with knee trouble and underwent surgery in 2008 in a bid to cure the problem.

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson told MUTV: "Owen trained with the first team. He looked very good. I was surprised how good he was looking."

Hargreaves' last appearance was back in May when he came on for the final three minutes against Sunderland.

Ferguson said: "It's an extra string to our bow, bringing him in at this time. After being out for so long, we'll obviously have to monitor him and see how he's going to progress in the next few weeks. But it's good to see him back.

"Because he's been out for so long you have to see whether there's going to be a relapse. That's the first thing on our mind at the moment.

"But having watched him in training, if he continues that way he's going to give me another selection problem, no question about that."

Hargreaves' last start for United came in the 1-1 draw with Chelsea in September 2008. He was expected to be fit for the start of this season but suffered a setback in July.

The American surgeon who operated on Hargreaves, Dr Richard Steadman, told BBC Sport last week that the 29-year-old was "close to playing fitness".

united are the team for me

Dr Steadman explained: "The problem was with the tendon attached to the patella on each knee, which is difficult to resolve.

"After the surgery, the key was rest and working hard on recovery. Owen has spent a lot of time with us here in Colorado and he just has such a great work ethic.

"He's never given up and we never gave up on him. The recovery was arduous and took a long time.

"But Owen is a patient patient and his condition looks promising now. You can't rush this type of injury and have to be very patient."

Hargreaves' team-mate Darren Fletcher told BBC Radio 5 live: "The biggest thing for us is the determination and the dedication he's shown - and how hard he's worked to try and get back from horrific injuries.

"He's surprised everyone because he seems to be fit and doesn't have any problems on the injury front. Slowly but surely his touch and his passing will come back.

"But it's great to have him back. Hopefully Owen can stay fit now and be a really important part of this squad - he'll be almost like a new signing."

United were given a further boost by the news that Michael Carrick could also return soon after three weeks out with an Achilles problem.

Ferguson confirmed: "Michael started training last week.

"He had that injection on his Achilles to settle it down. It was nothing serious, just one of those niggling little problems you can get with your Achilles, particularly at the start of the season when grounds are firm. But he's fine."

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see also
Hargreaves 'closing in on return'
17 Sep 10 |  Man Utd
Hargreaves rocked by new injury
08 Jul 10 |  Man Utd

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