It's great to be starting my column on TheFA.com this week although it's...
The Owen Hargreaves column
It's great to be starting my column on TheFA.com this week although it's a slightly frustrating time for me at the moment...
I've been suffering with an injury since last March and, with it not having cleared up satisfactorily, we've taken the decision that I should take some time out to find out exactly what the problem is and to find the solution.
The problem has affected my back and hips and it has definitely prevented me from playing at my best too. I've found shooting and hitting long balls very difficult and, while I've done my best to adapt my game and find a new style of playing, it's very frustrating to have to limit your game in that way.
As a young player you want to play in every big game - even more so when there are so many huge matches coming in quick succession with both Bayern and England - but it's now time to stop and find out what's wrong. Then I can get back to 100% which is the most important thing.
I'll keep training and keep fit by doing as much of the pain-free work as I can but it's important to stabilize the situation.
At this stage it's difficult to tell how long I'll be out for but I've got to take the long-term view on this one. Hopefully there are going to be the later stages of the Champions League to look forward to, not to mention the European Championship Finals. I need to be fit for games like those.
On a brighter note, it was fantastic to be in Istanbul for our last England match against Turkey. I didn't make the team - which is always a disappointment - but I thought we played a great game in a great atmosphere.
We can judge ourselves not just on that performance but also on some of our other big games and believe that we are capable of beating anyone.
When Euro 2004 comes around, we'll need to make sure that we are as good as teams like France and Portugal.
That's something to look forward to.
You can visit Owen's official website at www.owenhargreaves.de
Next Wednesday David Dunn will continue his column. Owen will return in two weeks time.
Players: David Dunn and Owen Hargreaves
Managers: Nigel Worthington and Steve McMahon