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Hargreaves in England fitness race

25 May 2007 17:01

LONDON (AFP) - Midfielder Owen Hargreaves is in a race against time to be fit enough to be selected for England matches against Brazil and then Estonia.

England manager Steve McClaren is about to name his squad and is hoping to include knee-victim Hargreaves, who is set to transfer from Bayern Munich to Manchester United.

The midfielder was England's star of the World Cup finals last summer but a broken leg meant he missed the crucial qualifiers with Macedonia and Croatia when a return of one point from a possible six dented hopes of reaching the 2008 finals.

McClaren said his availability for the Estonia game would be a welcome tonic. The former Middlesbrough boss said: "Owen has been injured for quite a few weeks. This week he has been working with his physio in Germany on his knee and we are hoping to have him fit for selection when I pick the squad on Saturday morning."

Hargreaves partnered Steven Gerrard in the centre of the park during the 3-0 win over Andorra in Barcelona two months ago when Frank Lampard was ruled out with a wrist injury.

England play Brazil at Wembley on June 1 and then must travel to Estonia for a Euro 2008 qualifier five days later.

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