Manchester United manager José Mourinho has been discussing the future of Bastian Schweinsteiger.
The former German international has made just one appearance this season, a late substitute cameo in an EFL Cup tie against West Ham in November, though he is in a much better position now than he was in August.
Schweinsteiger was banished from the Man United first team by Mourinho upon the Portuguese manager’s arrival at Old Trafford in the summer, but despite being effectively told his career a the club was over, he refused to leave.
That determination seemingly impressed Mourinho, and the midfielder has since been welcomed back into the first team fold, albeit limited to training and the odd subs’ bench appearance.
However, Mourinho has insisted that the player will get more chances on the pitch. Speaking to reporters ahead of Man United’s FA Cup match against Reading this weekend, the manager has been outlining his plans for Schweinsteiger this month, stating that he will get minutes in what will be a busy schedule for the side, beginning with that aforementioned tie against Jaap Stam’s side:
“He is selected [in the squad] again,
“So he can start or he can be on the bench. He is an option for us, that is the best way to describe.
“For many months we made the decision he was not an option. When we brought him back he was not ready to compete in the first few weeks but since then he is working very well, never had an injury – he was just ill last week – so his body is fine.
“He is training well and ready to play.
“Bastian has played some minutes against West Ham and no more than that. But he wants to stay, he is staying, he is an option.
“Because he is an option he is selected for Saturday, just like he has been for three or four matches.
“He is waiting for that opportunity to play and January is a good month for that with so many matches.”
A start against Reading for Schweinsteiger would complete a massive u-turn from Mourinho. The 32-year-old was widely expected to be moving on in this transfer window, but that fate seems to have befallen fellow outcast Morgan Schneiderlin instead.
Whether the 2014 World Cup winner actually does play on Saturday, or indeed in the EFL Cup semi-final against Hull on Tuesday, remains to be seen, but Mourinho’s attitude towards him is still far more positive than it was even two months ago.