Footballer Owen Hargreaves uses YouTube to prove his fitness & resurrect career

Former Bayern Munich and Manchester United midfielder Owen Hargreaves has adopted a unique way of selling his services to football clubs. The England player has become notoriously known for being ‘injury prone’, with just 187 league appearances in 11 years. After being released by Manchester United this summer, the Canadian-born player has yet failed to find a new club – despite having an impressive background (2 Champions League medals, 1 Premier League medal and 4 Bundesliga titles) and once winning England’s Player of the Year (for the international team). Many football clubs simply see his lack of fitness and injury history as a liability and simply too risky for investment.

In a unique twist, Hargreaves has utilised social media in order to try prove his worth in his quest for a contract. Using his own YouTube channel, the player has posted 18 videos of him training and demonstrating his fitness to prospective clubs. All shot on a mobile phone, this is a hugely interesting use of social media for an athlete to repair his reputation and try show professional football clubs that he has both the fitness, and mental determination, to do anything to try get back in the game.

Hargreaves and his agent have clearly recognised that his reputation is damaged and that they need to do something in order to show that he can still play.

In my opinion, fair play to him. It takes a lot of guts and passion to be willing to face your flaws (and what those say about you) and try show that you can overcome them. Equally, he should be commended on his use of social media, whilst others may say it’s desperation, I think it’s an honest and open approach. Social Media is all about embodying passion, honesty and sharing, I think it’s a creative use of social media for an athlete and shows that he is just a normal guy trying to get a job (in comparison to other prima donna players out there).

It’ll be interesting to see if anyone gives him a trial after this, I hope they do. Perhaps I just like to support the under-dog, the veteran. At the very least, he’d be a good gamble for a low end Premiership or Championship team – if they can afford his wages!

EDIT 31/9/11: Hargreaves successfully won a 1 year deal at Manchester City

Sean Walsh

Founder of Digital-Football.com and leading Football Social Media expert.

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