Sir Alex Ferguson Autobiography: Owen Hargreaves hits back at his former manager after book criticism

Ferguson labelled the signing of Hargreaves a 'disaster' prompting the former Manchester United and England midfielder to have his say on the matter

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The Independent Football

Owen Hargreaves has hit back at his former manager Sir Alex Ferguson after he criticised the England international-turned TV pundit in his recently published autobiography.

Hargreaves joined Manchester United in 2007 after a 10-year spell with German side Bayern Munich, and the move appeared to be a good one as he helped United go on to claim a Premier League and Champions League double. He played all 120-minutes of the European final against Chelsea, going on to score in the penalty shoot-out and instantly adding to his accumulation of silverware.

However, injury would then prevent him from featuring regularly across the next three seasons, and he went on to play just five times before he was released after Ferguson decided against renewing his contract.

Having spent £17m on Hargreaves, Ferguson wrote in his book: “When I signed him there was something about him I didn’t like. It turned out to be a disaster.”

The criticism didn’t stop there, with the former United manager laying into Hargreaves further by accusing him of not having “nearly enough determination” and that he always opted “for the easy choice” during training sessions.

The 42-cap England midfielder though has hit back at the Scotsman, admitting his disappointment that Ferguson decided to air these views in public rather than to Hargreaves first.

“For it (our relationship) to deteriorate like that was very disappointing and I think it’s a conversation he and I need to have personally,” Hargreaves said while speaking on BT Sport.

“Anyone who knows me will know that professionalism is one of my strongest traits. I always give my best. A lot of people who have rang me this week were very surprised by what he said, myself included.

“I think he said a lot of things in there that were with emotion. He was very disappointed obviously with the way things turned out.”

Hargreaves signed for rivals Manchester City on a free transfer following his release, but the injuries continued and he retired just a year later at the age of 31.

“The first season we were very successful,” Hargreaves added. “I was able to play a big part in winning the Champions League.

“After the treatment I had in that summer I virtually never played again.

“For any young player, to be 27 and central to England’s and Manchester United’s plans, but then to never play again was very difficult to deal with – I wouldn’t wish that on my worst enemy.

“Relationships break down but at times I think it was a little bit of miscommunication because there were so many people involved. My only regret is that I didn’t go to him sooner but I didn’t realise the severity of the situation until it was too late.”

Hargreaves is not the first to respond to Ferguson’s book revelations, with Roy Keane, Brendan Rodgers and Arsene Wenger all having spoken about the book in the past week.