Bastian Schweinsteiger made a surprise return to the Manchester United first team with a brief cameo appearance against West Ham on Wednesday night.
The Red Devils ran out 4-1 winners in the EFL Cup fifth round tie and were in a comfortable position by the time Schweinsteiger entered the fray, although the ex-Bayern Munich man did make a great contribution to the final goal – a close-range Zlatan Ibrahimovic strike in the 93rd-minute.
Basti is back
Schweinsteiger was given his chance by stand-in boss Rui Faria in the 86th-minute, replacing two-goal hero Anthony Martial.
And the 32-year-old was greeted by a standing ovation from the Old Trafford crowd after he had been kept out of the side for so long – perhaps unfairly – by manager Jose Mourinho, who was serving a once match touchline ban.
Mourinho kicked a water bottle in frustration in the first half of the weekend draw with West Ham, but the Red Devils had no such problems this time around.
Although the score was 1-1 once again at half-time, United dominated after the break with Martial scoring a brace within 20 minutes of the restart.
The scores were settled late in stoppage time as Wayne Rooney fed Schweinsteiger with a quick throw in down the left, with the German then finding Ander Herrera who crossed for Ibrahimovic to score.
“Warm welcome” delights Schweini
The veteran midfielder was unsurprisingly pleased to put on the red shirt once again after last featuring as a substitute in a 1-0 away win against Manchester City in March earlier this year.
Speaking on his Twitter account after the match, Schweinsteiger said “Thanks for the warm welcome at Old Trafford,” after stating it had been an “amazing evening with a perfect result.”
Although fans were obviously excited to see Schweinsteiger back in action on Wednesday, it would be a surprise to see him involved again. A combination of factors, including suspensions for Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini, allowed the German to make the brief substitute appearance.
However, if this does prove to be the midfielder’s final United appearance, it’s great knowing that he had some kind of send-off from the Old Trafford faithful.