Since Jose Mourinho took over at Manchester United he has been working hard to get to know the players he had not managed before. Some players however, did not get much of a chance to get to know the boss or for them to have a chance to impress the boss as they were pretty much demoted to be being fringe squad players as soon as pre-season started.
One such player was former Germany captain and World Cup winner Bastian Schweinsteiger, who joined United from Bayern Munich when Louis van Gaal signed him in the summer of 2015 to beef up the United central midfield. Immediately following the start of Jose Mourinho’s tenure at United, Basti was demoted to training with the reserves and was not training with his former first team squad mates. The midfielder was subsequently left out of United’s Europa League squad but he remains in the Premier League squad but of course has yet to make the substitutes bench yet alone start in the League or domestic cups.
When Schweinsteiger learned of his position under JM back in August before the season got underway, he reacted with total class simply saying he “will be ready if the team needs me”. The former German international has been the epitome of class throughout his period of inactivity showing no ill-will towards the manager or the club. Basti has even been posting messages of support on his Twitter, Instagram and Facebook accounts throughout the season. As reported by ESPNFC, he even posted a “good luck” message from Old Trafford prior to the EFL Cup Manchester Derby.
So Schweinsteiger has acted like the consummate professional, exhibiting a attitude of understanding and patience when many mega-rich footballers would have had a meltdown and caused a huge media frenzy with a public spat with the club and management. Perhaps the wise old head suspected that he might still get a chance at United knowing the way football can work. On Saturday, Ander Herrera was sent off against Burnley and will serve a 3 game suspension. JM has been using Herrera in a deeper midfield role but clearly will have to use his squad while the Spanish midfielder serves his ban. Who knows if the two events are connected but a conincidence seems highly unlikely as today according to the pictures released on the club’s official Twitter account Bastian Schweinsteiger is back training with the first team. In the picture above from training you can see the hat-wearing German doing drills with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marouane Fellaini directed by assistant manager Rui Faria.
So perhaps there is life in the old dog yet and certainly a proud player like Schweinsteiger will surely be delighted to be training with the first team again. Who knows Basti might just be what United need right now – a cool head amongst all the anxious players who are feeling the pressure of United’s run of bad form.