Wilson Pledge On Protege

Owen Ready To Get Goin’

Les Wilson and Owen Hargreaves - together again yesterday.

Les Wilson has offered a glowing endorsement of the return to fitness of Owen Hargreaves after a fond reunion with him in British Columbia.

It is 14 years since the two had worked together in early 1997, when Hargreaves was in Vancouver for a training camp with the Canadian under-17s and Wilson was general manager of the national teams’ programmes.  

Yesterday, their paths crossed at a training session at Coquitlam’s Town Centre Stadium, a few miles from Wilson’s home near Vancouver, on the day the injury-plagued and now-released Manchester United star was filmed for the YouTube posts advertising his comeback towards full fitness.

“I’ve no doubt after watching Owen’s rigorous training session that he is fully capable of starring in the English Premier League in 2011-2012,” Wilson said.

“He looked as fit as a butcher’s dog and would be a great acquisition for a team in the Premier League.

“He has overcome knee surgery and is in excellent hands, having done his rehabilitation with world-renowned physiotherapist and fitness coach, Alex McKechnie.

“Alex is the Los Angeles Lakers basketball team’s physical therapist and was the Vancouver Whitecaps physio in 1979 when the Whitecaps were North American Soccer League Champions.”

Wilson and Calgary-born Hargreaves have something in common, both having graduated from Canadian football to England’s top division.   

Wilson (centre) receives the autograph of Ferenc Puskas after cycling to Vancouver Airport to greet the Hungarian legend on a visit to the city with Real Madrid in 1961.

Wilson, one of this website’s biggest supporters, played for Wolves from 1964 to 1972 before moving on to Bristol City and Norwich. Three decades later, Hargreaves was a serial winner at first Bayern Munich and then United (2007-2011).

It was at home to Wolves last season, though, that the 30-year-old was taken off after only five minutes with a hamstring injury in his first senior start for well over two years.

Wilson was born in Manchester and emigrated at the age of six to Vancouver, where his expertise in coaching led to him becoming Canada’s national manager.

Thomas Publications