The major news last week for Manchester United was certainly Bastian Schweinsteiger’s return to the fold after his pretty exile, ordered by José Mourinho.
Why peculiar? Because it was never properly explained why he was exiled and it hasn’t been properly explained why his returning. Probably a pragmatic move by Mourinho, but who knows?
Anyway, this brings the former Bayern Munich player back to the squad during a time of some upheaval at United. While the football was pretty good against Burnley, the lack of finishing and Tom Heaton turning into a mix of peak Petr Cech and Gianluigi Buffon frustrated United.
Now, Bastian Schweinsteiger’s return is not something that is going to change the club’s fortunes all of the sudden. Without a clear idea of how they want to play, even Lionel Messi would struggle. But it might be a step in the right direction.
Granted, the German did himself no favours when he was flying around the world with his wife, Ana Ivanovic, during his time out injured, but a player’s personal life shouldn’t be concern for the fans as long as they perform on the pitch — we’ll admit that Scweini has been a disappointment in that regard. Schweinsteiger arrived to the club with a lot of expectations and he was found to be very slow and out of form for the English style of football that is played in the Premier League, but his touch, vision and ability to spot a pass are aspects of his game that remain unaffected by the wounds of time.
Considering Mourinho’s current options for the most defensive midfielder, he could do worse than give Schweinsteiger a chance. Michael Carrick is 35 and can’t play every week; Ander Herrera can do a job there and is in good form but he is better suited to a more advanced role; Timothy Fosu-Mensah is still too young to play as a starter. Marouane Fellaini has his virtues, no doubt, but playing as a holding midfielder is not one of them and that has been proven time and time again. The most likely and logical choice would be to play Morgan Schneiderlin in that position but if Mourinho wants something similar to what a footballer of Carrick’s calibre can provide, he could give a certain Treble and World Cup winner the possibility to prove his worth again.
This may not be Schweinsteiger’s grand return and it’s very likely that he’ll be off in January to North America to play his trade in MLS. But United need a player in his position that can distribute properly and with Herrera and Pogba next to him, he shouldn’t have to do a lot of running.
He may never be the all action midfielder of his twenties, but Schweinsteiger can still contribute to United’s cause. Throw him in José!