Hargreaves ruled out of England friendly

November 14, 2007

Manchester United's Owen Hargreaves has been ruled out for England's friendly with Austria in Vienna on Friday.

Hargreaves has only just returned to action after a long-standing tendinitis problem which he sustained while at Bayern Munich and eventually required an injection after his summer move to Old Trafford.

The 26-year-old was part of the Red Devils' starting line-up that defeated Blackburn at on Sunday but is still suffering some discomfort.

England coach Steve McClaren has discussed the matter with his old boss, United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, and it has been decided Hargreaves should remain in Manchester for treatment.

It is hoped Hargreaves will be available for the potentially crucial Euro 2008 qualifier against Croatia at Wembley on November 21.

'Owen Hargreaves is recovering from a long-term injury,' observed an FA spokesman.

'Having discussed it with Manchester United, it was felt he should remain in Manchester for treatment until the weekend - with the emphasis on his fitness for the Croatia qualifier.'

The obvious implication from that statement is that Hargreaves will link up with the England squad only should Russia fail to win in Israel on Saturday, thus restoring qualification back into the hands of McClaren and his team.

Hargreaves' absence should have no material effect on England's preparation for the Austria friendly.

The £18million midfielder has not played for his country at all this season - and with captain Steven Gerrard, Gareth Barry and Frank Lampard all available, McClaren has plenty of options.

The other absentee from training at Arsenal's London Colney complex was Chelsea winger Shaun Wright-Phillips.

He is suffering from a minor ankle injury and has been rested purely as a precaution and should train tomorrow.

However, the niggle only heightens the likelihood of former captain David Beckham winning his 98th cap in the Austrian capital.