Franz Beckenbauer says being “away from the problems in Manchester” has helped Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger.
The midfielder came on in the second half of Germany’s 2-0 friendly win over Hungary on Saturday, his first appearance since Manchester United’s 1-0 win away to Manchester City in the Premier League in March.
The 31-year-old has struggled with a knee ligament injury for much of the year, casting doubt over his ability to participate meaningfully at Euro 2016.
But his hopes of being involved were boosted at Veltins-Arena, as Joachim Low’s side seek to add the European Championship to their 2014 World Cup triumph.
And Germany great Beckenbauer has welcomed the return to action of the national team captain, while aiming a thinly veiled jibe at Schweinsteiger’s club.
“Bastian has surprised me,” he wrote in 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.
“Because he is away from the problems at Manchester. I guess he is feeling really comfortable in the Germany squad.”
Germany’s Euro 2016 campaign begins with a match against Ukraine in Lille on Sunday.