Bastian Schweinsteiger could remain at Manchester United beyond the January transfer window after Jose Mourinho suggested it may not be the end of the road for the midfielder at Old Trafford.
Schweinsteiger was exiled to the reserves following Mourinho's arrival at the club last summer and was left out of the club's Europa League squad. The midfielder was also written off as an asset in the club's accounts released in September, seemingly ending any hope of the former Germany international playing for the club again.
The 32-year-old returned to first-team training in October however and was named part of the match day squad for the first time this season in the Premier League clash against West Ham United on Sunday (27 November).
Three days later in an EFL Cup quarter-final tie against the Hammers, he came off the bench with four minutes of the match remaining to a huge ovation around Old Trafford.
"Everybody was happy as when he was not training with the team he did it with a professional way," Mourinho told a press conference on Friday, United's official website reports. "He was struggling, because it is not easy, but he managed to do that without getting injured. He was continually working for a month, so we saw this as a good opportunity for him to play a little bit... He is one who can help us."
During his exile, Schweinsteiger was strongly linked with moves a number of MLS sides and reportedly held talks with Chicago Fire. While at one stage he appeared certain to leave when the transfer window reopens, the former Bayern Munich midfielder now appears to have a future at the club again having seemingly won over his manager.
Asked if the veteran midfielder can stay beyond January, Mourinho said: "Of course he can. When you have a contract with the club you are the powerful one – you can decide your future. In the summer we tried to make something happen for Bastian to get a different future, but he was the powerful one and decided to stay, even in difficult circumstances. He worked for that and deserved the happiness of the last match... I like people who are determined."