Hargreaves near to Manchester United return

LONDON, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Manchester United midfielder Owen Hargreaves could soon be back in action after years of struggling with a knee injury, his American surgeon said on Friday.

Hargreaves has not started a match for his Premier League club since September 2008 but surgeon Richard Steadman told the BBC the 29-year-old former England international's prospects now looked good.

"It's all worked out," he said. "He's close to playing fitness, although it's obviously up to United to decide when he plays a match."

Canadian-born Hargreaves, outstanding for England in the 2006 World Cup finals, has had operations on both knees to try and cure a chronic tendinitis problem and is currently being treated in Colorado.

The player joined United for 17 million pounds from Bayern Munich in 2007.

"He's never given up and we never gave up on him. The recovery was arduous and took a long time," said Steadman.

"But Owen is a patient patient and his condition looks promising now. You can't rush this type of injury and have to be very patient.

"He was with us a few weeks ago and is doing really well though. He was sprinting, twisting and turning."