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Dublin: 17 °C Sunday 9 August, 2020

Hargreaves makes case for big role while Mancini defends omission

WATCH: Former England midfielder marked his debut with a great goal in the Carling Cup last night. But he’s not in City’s Champions League side.

Owen Hargreaves celebrates his goal.
Owen Hargreaves celebrates his goal.
Image: Pa images

MANCHESTER CITY BOSS Roberto Mancini has defended his decision not to include Owen Hargreaves in his Champions League squad.

The Italian picked Hargreaves up for nothing on the penultimate day of the transfer window last month, taking what many described as a punt, to use a technical term.

But the signs are that Mancini’s calculated gamble has paid off with the former England man scoring a cracker in an impressive debut last night against Birmingham.

The Premier League  outfit ran out 2-0 winners in the Carling Cup clash at the Etihad Stadium. It will not earn Hargreaves a nice trip back to Bayern Munich next week however.

“We didn’t know what his condition would be when we had to decide,” said Mancini. ”It was difficult. It is possible we could bring him in during January.

“He hasn’t had any problems in the last three weeks. At the moment his knee is fine. We said before the match we would give him between 45 and 60 minutes. As it turned out, he was okay for 60.

“But he has only played 60 minutes. Now it is important that he recovers properly because he can be good for us and England.

Here’s the goal that earned the former Manchester United man the plaudits:

And here’s the fitness regime that got him back to action from the brink of retirement:

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