England news

Capello hopes for Hargreaves revival

September 1, 2011
By ESPNsoccernet staff

England manager Fabio Capello is hoping Owen Hargreaves can rediscover his fitness and form at Manchester City.

Fabio Capello
GettyImagesFabio Capello could return to club management when he leaves England

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Hargreaves, 30, completed a surprise free transfer to City on Wednesday after he parted company with rivals Manchester United at the end of last season.

The former Bayern Munich midfielder has struggled desperately with injuries in recent times, playing just 11 minutes of first-team football in two years, but Roberto Mancini clearly believes he can recover his fitness and Capello is also hopeful.

"I hope he will be fit because he was an important player for England and played really well,'' Capello said. "I hope he will be really good in the short-term for Manchester City and also for England. After the knee problems, he didn't play for two years. We need to wait."

Capello has included uncapped Manchester United trio Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Tom Cleverley in his squad for England's upcoming qualifiers against Bulgaria and Wales, but there have been concerns raised over the inexperience of his back-up goalkeepers.

Should Joe Hart sustain an injury, the only options available will be Frank Fielding and David Stockdale - both uncapped at senior level and currently playing for Championship sides - but Capello insists he was not tempted to ask West Brom goalkeeper Ben Foster to reconsider his international retirement.

"You need to be proud to stay here," he said. "The players I select always must be sure they want to play. I selected 25 players this time and I picked the first XI, the substitutes and the others who wanted to stay. It's important for the players that stay here to be proud to wear the England shirt."

England captain John Terry, meanwhile, feels Smalling, Jones and Cleverley will deliver for their country if required against Bulgaria or Wales.

Terry said: "They have come into the set-up and felt very assured - and rightly so because they are huge talents. They have got an awful lot to give.

"You don't go into the Manchester United side if you are not ready and they have showed some great individual performances. Clearly they are ready. I don't think age comes into it at all - you need to be given opportunities in life."