Owen Hargreaves still wants to go home and play for Manchester United
Bayern Munich midfielder Owen Hargreaves still wants to go home and play for Manchester United - even though he has never lived in England. The England international was linked with a move to Old Trafford in the summer and publicly declared his interest but a move never materialised.
And now, recovering from a broken leg sustained soon afterwards, the 25-year-old has reiterated his desire to move to the country of his forefathers.
"It's about the possibility to play in another league I haven't played in before, which is also the country I represent and where my family lives," Hargreaves told the Times newspaper.
"If people don't understand that, I don't expect them to. It's not their life. It's mine. But I don't think anyone in the football world is in the same situation as me."
Hargreaves' situation is unusual - born to an English father and a Welsh mother in Canada, he was raised across the Atlantic until his was 16, when he travelled to Germany to play for Bayern.
He has resided there ever since although feels that Britain is his spiritual - and ancestral - home.
"It's because it's England and Britain is where my family is," he continued. "My parents and my brothers are in Canada, but the whole of my Dad's side of the family is in Bolton and my mum's side is in Rhyl (north Wales)."
"I think some people don't realise that. They think I'm half-German or something, but I'm not."
"I was brought up by a British family - it just happened to be in Canada."
The combative, versatile player was one of England's few bright spots in a disappointing World Cup last summer, which led to United making a £17 million offer that Bayern promptly rejected.
He still harbours dreams of playing for United, not only because of their location but in view of the history and current form of a club leading the Premiership by eight points from champions Chelsea.
"Anybody who sees them play at the moment knows it's a very special team and they're in a great time," he enthused. "They've dominated this season in the Premier League, which is very difficult, and they've got players like Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes."
"Look at the goal difference of plus 29. They're not just winning games, they're winning them dramatically."
Hargreaves was, however, full of praise for his current side, despite having been fined and called a "prostitute" by Bayern general manager Uli Hoeness in the aftermath of stating his intention to go to England.
"I'm at a great club already," he said. "I don't think people in England realise what a huge club Bayern Munich is. I've never said a bad word about Bayern and I never would. It's not about that."
"It's not like I'm saying I want to go to Milan or Inter because they're offering me more money."
Hargreaves is expected to back in action next month, by which point the transfer window will be open. Having not played for Bayern in this season's Champions League he would be eligible to represent any other club in the competition on re-registration in January.