Ray of hope for Schweinsteiger
MANCHESTER, England (AP):
Bastian Schweinsteiger might still have a future at Manchester United.
It seemed the former Germany captain would be on his way out of Old Trafford in January when he was told to train away from the first-team squad for the first few months of the season, and even written off as an asset in United's published accounts in September.
But the 32-year-old Schweinsteiger has impressed United manager Jose Mourinho with his attitude and determination. Having been asked to rejoin training with the senior team last month, the midfielder made his first appearance of the season as a substitute in United's 4-1 win over West Ham in the English League Cup quarter-finals on Wednesday.
Suddenly, Schweinsteiger is on Mourinho's radar. Mourinho, famously dubbed the 'Special One' during his time at Chelsea, is calling Schweinsteiger the 'Powerful One'.
"In the summer, we try to make something happen for Bastian to have a different future," Mourinho said yesterday. "He decided to stay, even in difficult circumstances. He worked for that, he deserved that little happiness of the last match.
"In January, he will be the powerful one, probably with better feelings than before now he is working with the team. I think he understands our dynamic, our philosophy."
Schweinsteiger, who joined United in July 2015 and still has 18 months years left on his contract, has a fight on his hands to regain a regular first-team place with Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera, Michael Carrick and Marouane Fellaini seemingly ahead of him in the midfield pecking order.
Given the strides he has made to earn Mourinho's confidence in the past two months, Schweinsteiger can still hope. And the reaction he got at Old Trafford when he came on against West Ham suggested United fans would be happy to see more of the 2014 World Cup winner.
"He is another one who can help us," Mourinho said. "During the season, you have injuries, suspensions ... . Of course, it was 3-1 and he played for 10 minutes (against West Ham), but he was ready. He is another one in the squad working to have more chances."