Bastian Schweinsteiger has spoke out regarding his Manchester United exile, insisting he is keeping himself fit in the hope he may still earn a recall. The former Germany captain, who retired from international duty in August, has not played a single minute of domestic football so far this season after being totally frozen out by Jose Mourinho upon his return from Euro 2016.
Schweinsteiger, who is currently under contract until June 2018, was omitted from United's 27-man squad for the group stages of the Europa League before being written off as an asset in the club's financial accounts. The former Bayern Munich favourite was surprisingly welcomed back to first-team training two weeks ago after previously working on his own, with Mourinho describing that decision as "professional" and "human", claiming that he remains one more option in the event of a midfield injury crisis.
Mourinho also suggested that such a return would aid Schweinsteiger in the event that he did decide to move on in January, although the player himself does not appear to have completely given up on reviving his Old Trafford fortunes just yet.
"I'm trying to keep myself fit for the situation in which I am needed," he was quoted as saying by Sky Sports during an advertising campaign with German snack manufacturers Funny Frisch. "Hopefully I will be given a chance. I look forward to training every day, and being able to train with the team. I don't know if I will get a chance, but I hope so.
"I still feel fit at 32 and certainly want to play more at the top level and of course I want to win things. We won the FA Cup last year and that was also one of my aims. Of course it would be great to play for United in the Premier League and perhaps win it. If I am needed, I will give everything – I am ready."
Schweinsteiger, whom SportBild claimed last week had been offered a golden handshake worth €11m (£9.4m, $11.8m) to leave United, further claimed that he is "not one to think of burying my head in the sand" and retains an upbeat personality despite having seen his career stall. His first season at United, in which he was limited to only 31 appearances across all competitions, was massively disrupted by consecutive knee ligament injuries.
A move to Major League Soccer (MLS) seems the most likely solution for Schweinsteiger in 2017, with The Telegraph reporting that Eastern Conference basement dwellers Chicago Fire have already opened discussions regarding a possible switch to the US. They further claim that the player, who has previously gone on record to say that he will not represent another European club, met head coach Veljko Paunovic for dinner last week and that United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward is in contact with agent Robert Schneider.