Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho appears to have confirmed that Bastian Schweinsteiger's career at Old Trafford is all but over. The World Cup-winning midfielder has been consigned to training with the club's under-21 players since returning to pre-season training and Mourinho has admitted Schweinsteiger does not feature in his long-term plans.
The Portuguese boss intends to work with a squad of 23 outfield players this season and says he does not intend to include Schweinsteiger.
"It happens at every club in the world. The manager decides his squad," Mourinho stated during a pre-match press conference for the Community Shield on Sunday (7 August), according to the BBC. "I choose a certain number of players to face the season, that is it. I like to work with 20 and three keepers - I have done it for 15 years.
"We have so many players but so many competitions and the Europa League changes a lot. We could play 15 matches in it, on Thursdays, and there is normally Premier League on Sundays. I have made a decision to have 23 and 3. It is still a lot. I had to make my decisions."
The 32-year-old German is set to slip even further down the pecking order once United complete their fourth summer signing. Mourinho, who has been linked with a world-record bid for Juventus midfielder Paul Pogba, has revealed the Reds are on the cusp of agreeing a deal for a "very good midfielder".
Meanwhile, the United boss has confirmed Chris Smalling and Timothy Fosu-Mensah have returned to training ahead of the Community Shield against Leicester City at Wembley. Mourinho said both players are in contention for the showpiece match after overcoming injuries.
"They are fine now," the United manager explained. "They have recovered and they are training with the group as normal, so they are fine. Everybody needs minutes - that is the reality. We had so little time to play and Smalling is a player who has not even played one minute, but it is a little bit the same for everyone."
Mourinho also praised his new-look squad, saying they have been receptive to his ideas since he took the reins from Louis van Gaal. "The reality is that they are working magnificently well, they are working really hard and I am really confident for the season because of the attitude they have," he explained. "Of course we need time but in training they use every minute they have on the pitch to try to improve and adapt to new ideas. I couldn't be more pleased."