Hargreaves claims injections hindered recovery

Manchester City midfielder Owen Hargreaves claims his recovery

from long-standing knee problems was hindered by injections given

to him at Manchester United.

United responded Friday by insisting the former player’s

criticism lacked validity.

Persistent tendinitis limited Hargreaves to six minutes of

playing time at United after having surgery on both knees during

the 2008-09 season. The 30-year-old midfielder is trying to

kickstart his career at Manchester City after being released by

United at the end of last season.

And Hargreaves, who scored a goal on his City debut on

Wednesday, claims United mishandled his rehabilitation after the

2007-08 season, which ended with the club winning the Champions

League.

”I received some injections but my tendon was never the same,”

the former Bayern Munich player told British newspapers after City

beat Birmingham 2-0 in the League Cup. ”After the injections, I

tried to get back on my feet and they said my tendon was good, but

it felt like I was made out of glass. That obviously had a huge

impact. With my tendon injury, I’ve had to be a guinea pig for a

lot of these treatments. It’s difficult.”

The Canadian-born player, who competed for England at the 2006

World Cup, said he was assured by United that there would be no

side effects from the painkilling injections.

”That wasn’t the case and if I’d known, I wouldn’t have done

it,” he said. ”I wish I had not had the injections … it got

significantly worse after that through the injections I had. After

that my tendon was never the same.”

United issued a statement saying it was ”disappointed with

Owen’s remarks.”

”The club gave him the best possible care for three years and

is as disappointed as anyone he was not able to play a part in the

team’s success at that time,” the statement said. ”It has shared

all the medical records with Manchester City and is comfortable

with the actions taken by its medical staff at each step of his

many attempts at rehabilitation.

”United does not acknowledge any validity in the comments Owen

is alleged to have made. Manchester United has some of the best

sports medical staff in world sport, who have made a significant

contribution to United’s on-pitch success in recent seasons.”

United manager Alex Ferguson had defended his medical staff

before the statement was released.

”As far as I am concerned my medical staff is one of the main

reasons why we have been so successful over the last few years,”

Ferguson said. ”Do you think we would be successful if they were

not 100 percent brilliant? Our doctor and his five physios are

fantastic. That is my opinion and that is more important than what

anyone else has to say about it.”

City manager Roberto Mancini said Hargreaves could be a regular

member of his squad within a month if his present progress

continues.

”He is pain-free,” Mancini said. ”There are no problems,

apart from a bit of tiredness. He has been out for two years, which

is a long period. He has worked hard for the last six months in

Canada. And I hope it has solved all his problems.”