He has seen more stretchers in the last few years than St John Ambulance, but Owen Hargreaves has resolutely refused to do what every creaky knee ligament in his body is telling him and hang up his boots.
In his latest attempt to defibrillate life back into his football career, the former England international has started training with Queens Park Rangers. Although there is no significant hint of a signing, Mark Hughes has agreed to let Hargreaves train with his Premier League team at Loftus Road.
“Owen is training with the group. There is no obligation for either party. He is keen to retain his fitness and we are more than happy to help him by allowing him to train with us and use our facility at Harlington.”
The 31-year-old is a free agent after Manchester City offloaded him in May, and there is currently no word on whether he was treated like a rodent during his time at the Ethiad.
Despite being seduced by his delightful fitness videos posted on YouTube, the Premier League champions only played the midfielder on four occasions - a result of stiff competition for places and Hargreaves’s failure to regain the consistent fitness that once made him a regular starter for Manchester United.
With Hargreaves’s body frequently displaying the structural integrity of a packet of Coco Pops, it is most likely that the former Bayern Munich prodigy will not make the grade at the top level again.
That said, if by some miracle he can regain some semblance of fitness, Hughes’s training invitation could turn out to be a very savvy move indeed – Hargreaves has 42 international caps and he gained a fine reputation for covering every blade of grass like a conscientious lawnmower.
If he can finally combine that experience and tenacious style with an ability to jog in a straight line again, QPR might just be on the trail of their signing of the season.