Former Arsenal defender and current television pundit Martin Keown is not surprised by Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho recalling Bastian Schweinsteiger to the first-team action. After featuring as a substitute in the league match against West Ham during the weekend, the World Cup winner had his first minutes on the pitch for United this season when they took on West Ham once again, but in the EFL Cup.
It may have been an only four-minute cameo for the German, but it was a start nonetheless. Keown says that it was difficult to see a player of Schweinsteiger’s quality to be sitting on the bench or training with the reserves. Earlier in the season, the World Cup winner was made to train either alone or with the reserves. Mourinho received widespread criticism for the treatment of the 31-year-old, who has managed to win the whole host of trophies at club level including the Champions League.
Manchester United’s comfortable 4-1 win over West Ham in the EFL Cup finally brought some smiles from manager Mourinho. However, the Portuguese will be aware that the club will have a lot of tough challenges going forward. Keown says that the upcoming December fixture list will be the ultimate test for the club as they try to deal with tricky teams like Tottenham and Everton. The latter will be the first of the big challenges for United in December.
Keown reckons that Schweinsteiger still has a role to play in this United team. As cited by Metro, he said:
‘I’m not surprised he’s coming back. I would love to see him get more football. Nothing pains me more than to see good players sitting watching from the sidelines.
“People may have felt he didn’t give much last season but he was still deemed good enough to make the Germany squad for Euro 2016, where he featured in five of their six matches.”
Despite finally managing to break himself into the first team, Schweinsteiger is unlikely to put on hold the transfer talks. It was revealed a few weeks ago that he had been in talks with several MLS clubs. Since he is free to discuss terms with foreign clubs from January, the 31-year-old will go ahead with the talks as expected. His presence, though, could help United overcome a run of games when the team is without first-team regulars like Eric Bailly.
It was recently confirmed that the Ivory Coast defender was set to return to first-team action, but he will disappear from the first team almost as quickly due to his potential involvement with the Ivory Coast team at the 2017 African Cup of Nations.
Even though Schweinsteiger has certainly struggled since his move from Bayern Munich last summer, he is not yet to the point where he is incapable of representing a club like Manchester United. Keown pointed out to the fact that Schweinsteiger played in five out of the six games for the German national team, who are the reigning world champions, at the Euro 2016.