Bastian Schweinsteiger has been one of the headline makers of the 2016-17 season. A World Cup winner, the German was made to train alone or with the reserves in the first few months of the season. Jose Mourinho received widespread criticism for the treatment of a player widely regarded as one of the greatest midfielders of his generation. Now, Schweinsteiger is making headlines after having made a stunning comeback back into the first-team reckoning.
Mourinho says that there is a very good possibility that Schweinsteiger may remain at United until the end of the season.
As quoted by Sky Sport, he said:
“Of course he [Schweinsteiger] can [stay]. When you have a contract with the club you are the powerful one.
“He can help us. He is another one in the squad and he’s working to have more chances.
“In the summer we tried to make something happen for Bastian to get a different future.”
At the start of the season, Mourinho’s consensus was that Schweinsteiger did not fit into the team. It may have been a little premature to rule out a player, who has won multiple league titles with Bayern Munich and one Champions League medal, but few would have had the chance to revisit the decision if United had been in stunning form. After managing four wins from the opening four matches of the season, United suffered a 2-1 loss against Manchester City. It was the start of a downhill trend and one that led to questions about Schweinsteiger’s absence.
Despite being blessed with a huge amount of talent in the squad, Mourinho has simply been unable to do without the German. Schweinsteiger finally made it to the first-team after appearing as a late substitute in the 4-1 victory over West Ham in the EFL Cup. The appearance came just a few days after he was named on the bench for the league meeting with the Londoners.
Schweinsteiger is out of contract at the end of the campaign and he is free to discuss terms with foreign clubs starting from January. Only a month ago, Mourinho seemed steadfast in his decision to brand Schweinsteiger surplus to requirements. This led to the player holding transfer negotiations with various clubs, especially from the MLS, with a view of moving in January. Schweinsteiger has already stated that United would be his last club in European football, and it hinted that the player was seeking a payday in North America or in China.
Still only 31, such a move would certainly rob European football out of an extraordinary talent.
After recently recalling Schweinsteiger back to the first-team training for ‘humane reasons,’ Mourinho’s softening stance on the German midfielder is not surprising. The Portuguese manager has seen how the introduction of a single player – Michael Carrick – can have a soothing effect on the team. Carrick’s presence invariably leads to better results, and Schweinsteiger is a player who can be used in a similar role given that Carrick cannot play two games a week.
It would not be difficult to rule out Schweinsteiger making a return to league action this weekend against Everton.