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Former England footballer turns to YouTube to prove his fitness

Hire me: I'm still alive

Former England footballer Owen Hargreaves has been forced to turn to YouTube in a bid to prove that he remains fit enough to play top-level football.

Here's a truism: all of life is on YouTube. Today the Google-owned video-sharing behemoth contains more footage than has ever been broadcast across every TV channel in the history of the world. And today the same video site is host to another truism - there's nothing quite so poignant as the once indestructible young sportsman raging against the dying of the light. Forget the fame and fortune, few sportsmen can let go when the time comes. (They just go and sign for whoever Sam Alladyce is managing.)

Former England and Manchester Utd footballer Owen Hargreaves has taken a novel approach. He's turned to YouTube to prove that he's still fit enough to play top-level football. The midfielder joined Man Utd in 2007 for £17 million, but a succession of injuries restricted him to only 39 appearances, and this summer the Canadian-born, German-reared utility man was released.

But you can't keep a good man down, and in an apparent bid to prove to the world his fitness Hargreaves has set up a YouTube page showcasing clips of him training, apparently in a municiple park. And the early portents are good: in just two days the 'owenhargreavescb' channel has been viewed more than five thousand times and has 550 followers, while the clips have been viewed more than 36 thousand times.

It's an approach far advanced from the now positively prosaic DVDs that ageing Carlos Kickaballs used to make and farm out in an attempt to get one last contract, nicely showcasing the way that social media allows individuals (and their agents) to communicate in a very personal way, and to sidestep more traditional lines of communications.

It's also nice to see a Premiership footballer (or at least a former one - pending) using a social network for something other than arguing with fans or attracting young ladies. But then Hargreaves was always a little different from the average English footballer, not really being English.

See also: 5 hot social networking sites

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