Although Sir Alex Ferguson was convinced the knee injury Hargreaves aggravated at the start of pre-season training would ease sufficiently for him to play some part in United's four-match tour, recovery proved far slower than expected.
It was only in the last full training session of the trip in Guangzhou that Hargreaves was able to play an active role. Apart from that it has been running, running and more running.
"I am just dying to play and have the chance to get that top on for the first time," he said. "There are some big games coming up but my goal is to be there on the opening day of the season."
In a team full of flair, Hargreaves knows what his job is. It will not be pretty, but he is confident it will be pretty effective.
"The manager has so many options," he said.
"All I can do is get the ball, then give it to one of them to do their thing."