Oh dear Owen..
Chinese Founder Under Hapless Hargreaves at Asian Games
Five games, four losses. Just two goals scored.
It's fair to say that Owen Hargreaves' latest journey into Asia has failed, and to say that it failed miserably would potentially be the understatement of 2014.
After back-to-back 5:0 defeats in pre-tournament exhibition play, Hargreaves' Chinese Under-23 side looked somewhat decent against minnows Hong Kong in their opening game of the 2014 Asian Summer Games Football Tournament, dominating from start to finish and only missing out on a victory due to an injury time screamer from Hong Kong's captain.
"Then it well and truly all went to shit," said Hargreaves in an uncensored, exclusive interview with BBC Sport. "This game is frustrating, and I'm frustrated. I'm at a loss for words. We were soundly beaten by a team of starving Communist pigs," he said, referring to his side's 3:1 defeat in their second match against lowly Vietnam.
Hargreaves sent his squad out in a comical 4-6-0 for their final group match against powerhouse Japan, knowing they would need a victory. Instead, his side were outshot 12-0, and dropped a decisive decision 2-nil, bowing out of what really was a sub-par group with little more than a whimper.
"Yes, it's disappointing, but the players were poor, the coaching staff I had under me was poor. Football in Asia is just an absolute joke, and I am confident when I say I will not be returning to Asia anytime soon," scathed the former England international towards the end of the full-length interview.
One thing is for sure- at age 33, and unable to return to the beautiful game as a player due to multiple, crippling knee injuries, Hargreaves needs to find a niche in management if he wants to remain involved with the game.
"I'd love to have him here, as a scout or something," commented Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger after his side's 5-1 defeat at Stoke on the weekend. "He could probably teach my players how to play through the niggling injuries- flash them some scars, tell them some horror stories. Then maybe, just maybe, my players would show up!"
Thus far in his brief, forgettable managerial career, Hargreaves has managed East Bengal F.C. and Sime Darby F.C., of India and Malaysia respectively, without any success, at the club level, and the Chinese Under-23s and Indian Under-21s at the international level. In nine matches at the international level, Hargreaves has yet to record a victory- with five losses and four draws to his name.
A prospect, a decent midfielder for England, but surely not a manager!
Next Update- Contemplation...