Bastian Schweinsteiger may yet have a future at Manchester United after being named in the club's squad for the first half of the Premier League season. The ex-Germany international had been informed he had no future at Old Trafford just a year on from joining the 20-time English champions, but Jose Mourinho has offered the 32-year-old hope could be involved this term.
The World Cup winner has been selected as one of 17 non-home grown players, the maximum number which can be chosen by any club, alongside the minimum of eight players who must fulfill the home grown criteria outlined by the Premier League. Schweinsteiger could have legitimately been omitted by Mourinho but his inclusion suggests his career at the Theatre of Dreams could have legs.
Schweinsteiger was handed a three-year deal by Louis van Gaal upon moving to United in the summer of 2015, but injury problems restricted him to just 13 top flight starts. The signings of Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan saw him spiral down the pecking order following Mourinho's arrival and led to him being banished from the club's Carrington training ground.
Therefore, his selection represents a U-turn from Mourinho who could yet call on Schweinsteiger between now - potentially starting in the derby against Pep Guardiola's Manchester City on 10 September - and the start of February when he will be asked to submit a revised squad after the January transfer window. The former Bayern Munich man has remained dignified throughout his ordeal this summer and prior to his final international appearance against Finland stated his intent to fight for his place.
"My absolute dream would be to play for Manchester United and help them reach their goals," he said according to ESPN. "We've had talks. I don't have a problem with Jose Mourinho. We had a good exchange. He explained his standpoint to me.
"I know what Manchester United want. But I also know what I want. You will have to wait and see what happens in September, October. It's a respectful dialogue. I will definitely not stop playing football. One thing is for sure: I'm not going to stop playing football. I still believe in my own ability. I could still help United if given the chance."
The other surprise inclusion in the United squad is Libya international Sadik El-Fitouri, who has since been restricted to appearances for the club's Under-21 side. The 21-year-old was recommended by Gary Neville and Paul Scholes while at Salford City and could now be considered for first team action in Mourinho's maiden campaign.