Owen Hargreaves celebrated his long awaited comeback from injury with a debut goal for Manchester City in the Carling Cup Third Round, and says he never stopped believing he would regain full fitness.
The 30-year-old was released by neighbours Manchester United in the summer, after featuring for just six minutes for the first team in three years.
However, Hargreaves proved he was worth taking a gamble on, as he opened the scoring for City against Birmingham City and featured for 57 minutes on Wednesday evening.
"I knew [this day] would come again," Hargreaves said.
"At times it was a very difficult position to be in, when it's happening to you. I never would have anticipated [the injuries] in my worst nightmares. It was a pretty humbling experience.
The striker was the England international's first since March 2008 during Manchester United's victory over Arsenal, and the Canadian born midfielder admits it was vital he left Old Trafford for pastures new.
"It was essential to get a change of scenery. I feel good," Hargreaves added.
"It's my first real game action in, I think, three years and four months - which is a bit frightening in itself. [But] I put in a lot of hard work in the summer.
"They [the medical team at City] have done a great job so far, just easing me in and this is an important progression.
Football work is more intensive than individual training [but] whatever these guys think is good going forward.
"It's important to get back into a team situation on a big pitch. Just getting used to basic things you do in the game.
"All in all it was a great exercise for me."
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