Friday 21 October 2016

German legend claims Schweinsteiger will be force of old now he's away from 'problems at Manchester'

Tom Rooney

Published 07/06/2016 | 15:56

According to one of German football’s most distinguished servants, it was the unsavoury environment at Old Trafford, not the stark diminishment of his powers that meant Bastian Schweinsteiger's first season at Old Trafford was so underwhelming.

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When the football historians reflect on Louis van Gaal’s tenure as Manchester United manager, they may find that Bastian Schweinsteiger was one of his most ill-advised acquisitions.

The German World Cup winner will, of course, have plenty of competition in that department. Memphis Depay and Marcos Rojo have hardly blazed a trial to becoming club legends either.

Van Gaal and ‘Schweini’ worked together at Bayern Munich, and it was the former who successfully converted the latter from a winger into a combative central midfielder.

Apparently, the Dutch coach brought in the German to avail of his leadership qualities and ensure his rigid tactics were carried out on the field.

Then Munich manager Pep Guardiola had told Schweinsteiger he could not guarantee him a regular place in their engine room because an of  an abundance of resources in that area so, after 17 years with the club, the player headed for Manchester.

Guardiola’s reasons for allowing him depart quickly looked hollow after the purchase of Arturo Vidal from Juventus.

It became quickly apparent that Schweinsteiger, despite being only 31, had lost much of his drive and dynamism and could not offer United’s central midfield the thrust it so desperately required.  

He and Morgan Schneiderlin simply did not compliment Michael Carrick as hoped. United’s season unrivalled slowly and publicly both on and off the pitch, with persistent rumours of van Gaal’s imminent sacking circulating since Christmas 

In the aftermath of van Gaal’s dismissal it emerged that he had lost the faith of his players and that Schweinsteiger had never fully assimilated into the squad, and returned to Germany as frequently as possible.

A knee injury meant Schweinsteiger missed the last 11 games of the club season but Joachim Low still selected him - as captain- for Germany’s Euro 2016 squad.

He made a second half cameo during their 2-0 warm up friendly win over Hungary, and the legendary Franz Beckenbauer claimed to be pleasantly surprised by how Schweinsteiger fared. Furthermore, he expects to see the fearless warrior of old bestriding the fields of France over the next month.

"Bastian has surprised me,” Beckenbauer told Bild.

"He was stronger than expected in his 24 minutes against Hungary. He showed great joy of playing and also spiritual motivation. We all know how strong his will can be.

“We all remember his bloody face in the last minutes of World Cup final. This we will see again.”

Beckenbauer, who captained West Germany to a World Cup in 1974, strongly intimated that it was the tumultuous atmosphere at United that hampered his compatriot’s performances in England, and now that he’s in a more harmonious set up, normal service should be resumed.

"Why? Because he is away from the problems at Manchester. I guess he is feeling really comfortable in the Germany squad."

New United boss Jose Mourinho is thought to be interested in reuniting with Chelsea midfielders Willian and Nemanja Matic, so Schweinsteiger’s future role at Old Trafford remains unclear.

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