SOFIA – A day after he was thrown a lifeline to resurrect his club career by Manchester City, Owen Hargreaves was given encouragement by England manager Fabio Capello that he still has an international future too.
The Canada-born Hargreaves joined City on a one-year deal on Wednesday, having been released by crosstown rival Manchester United after failing to complete a match in three years because of persistent injuries.
Although Capello stressed that Hargreaves needed time to prove he was over his recent injury problems, he believes the 30-year-old midfielder could still revive an England career that peaked at the 2006 World Cup, where he was arguably the team's best player.
''I hope he will be fit because he was an important player for England and played really well,'' Capello said Thursday, speaking at a media conference on the eve of England's 2012 European Championship qualifier against Bulgaria.
''I hope he will be really good in the short term for Manchester City and also for England.''
Hargreaves had to pass a stringent medical examination at City before completing his move and is widely reported in the British media to have agreed an appearance-related deal with the northwest team.
''It's important that you get back into a rhythm of playing football, and I haven't done that for a while,'' said Hargreaves, who resorted this summer to posting videos on YouTube showing himself working in a gym and running to prove his fitness to potential suitors.
''There's tons of games to come this season in various competitions. It's a fantastic group of players here and I hope that I'll be a good addition to these guys to help out.''
Joining City having previously played for United doesn't concern Hargreaves, either.
''This move just fits. You've got to trust your instincts,'' he said.