Owen Hargreavesâ€™s strangely peripheral role at Manchester United is not down to poor form but disciplinary issues, The Times can reveal. In particular, Sir Alex Ferguson is known to have been angered by the playerâ€™s poor timekeeping, with Hargreaves turning up late for several team meetings.
Signed for a projected fee of Â£20.2 million from Bayern Munich last summer, Hargreaves has found himself fourth or even fifth choice in central midfield as United chase Barclays Premier League and Champions League trophies. While speculation has centred on whether Ferguson is unconvinced by the England internationalâ€™s form, it is understood that the manager has been punishing Hargreaves for what he perceives as a slovenly attitude.
The revelation will astound many within the game, given the playerâ€™s reputation as a model professional. His dogged, diligent performances have led him to be touted as a possible England captain. But sources at Old Trafford have indicated that Ferguson has been unhappy with Hargreavesâ€™s lack of punctuality. He was late to arrive at Manchester airport on Monday morning before the squad flew to Italy for their Champions League quarter-final, first leg away to AS Roma.