Bastian Schweinsteiger could play again for Manchester United this season, manager Jose Mourinho has said.
The retired Germany international made a surprise return to Monday’s first-team training session having previously been frozen out of the senior squad and instructed to train alone by Mourinho.
Defender Luke Shaw said afterwards that it was a huge plus to the squad to have the experienced midfielder return, with United having endured indifferent form this season that has left them eight points adrift of Premier League leaders Manchester City.
Although Schweinsteiger is ineligible for Thursday’s Europa League clash with Fenerbahce, Mourinho says he could be called upon should his squad be struck by injuries to key midfield players.
If not, Mourinho is confident that the 32-year-old will boost his chances of finding a new club in January by regaining some additional fitness.
“We made the decision last Thursday, we informed him last Friday so he joined the team last Monday,” said the Portuguese boss.
“It’s a decision based on the fact that we’re in a period where it’s really difficult to train with everybody together.
“In this moment, the next day after we play, the players who played train in a different recovery session so the group becomes 13, 14, and with injuries sometimes 10, 11.
“The way Bastian was working professionally, every day with the fitness coach, it’s a human decision, a professional decision to bring him back to the team.
“He’ll be in much better condition in case his future decision is to leave the club. If he stays with us and becomes one more option – and in this moment we have no problems in midfield – but if we do one day then he will be one more option.
“It’s a decision that can be positive for the group, so it’s good for us and for him.”