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Gary Neville slams Man United’s “illegal” decision that snatched away World Cup winner’s “dream”



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Credit: The Overlap

Manchester United legend Gary Neville has slammed his former club’s treatment of Bastian Schweinsteiger as “illegal.”

Schweinsteiger joined the Red Devils in the summer of 2015, signing for the club alongside Morgan Schneiderlin and Matteo Darmian.

Under then-manager Louis van Gaal, Schweinsteiger would tell the media that he, “Wanted to win titles” at the club, with both he and United being “used to that.”

In practice it failed to turn out how the World Cup winner envisioned, with Schweinsteiger seeing out just two years of his three-year deal, winning just the FA Cup.

In that time, Schweinsteiger would make 31 appearances during his first season. However, come the second season, Van Gaal would be replaced by Jose Mourinho, with the Portuguese manager banishing Schweinsteiger from the first team.

Schweinsteiger would remain an exile for several months, forced to train with the U16s, completely locked out of the first team dressing room.

Despite Mourinho allowing the midfielder to join back with the first team in December, Schweinsteiger would make four more appearances, all of them coming in cup competitions.

Discussing his exile from the United squad, Schweinsteiger made clear that it came as a total surprise to him, with the decision taking away his dream of playing at Old Trafford:

“It was 2016 and I was with the German national team, we went far in the competition [Euros] reaching the semi-finals, so I stepped in a little later [at United],” Schweinsteiger told Gary Neville on the Overlap. “The team were in the US for a pre-season tour…

“When I arrived on the first day, I trained with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and thought it was great, a player who has the vision and is amazing to play with.

“The next day, on my birthday, when I walked into Carrington, John Murtough was there and said that I wasn’t allowed to walk into the dressing room, the coach had said so. No warning, nothing. I don’t know. Someone could have told me there [on my first day of training] or explained it to me in a normal way, but OK, I went to the youth dressing room and trained with the under-16s. 

“Yes, completely [kicked me out of the first team dressing room], so I had to ask him [Murtough] to bring me my boots and training gear. I asked him who I was training with, and he said there was the under-16 team, so I went and trained with the under-16s.

“I asked him whether I could talk to the manager in the afternoon, so when I came back from training with the under 16s, where I trained so badly because I didn’t know what was going on or if it was a joke, I then had a meeting with Jose Mourinho in the afternoon. 

“He explained to me that he didn’t see me happy here at United because when I had my injury, I did my rehab with German doctors, spending time in Germany. Of course, I came back to United and was in contact with doctors and watched the games – I had a conversation with Louis van Gaal when he was coach, and he said to come on the weekends to United and remain in contact with the doctors, they needed me fit and there was an FA Cup final which I almost played. 

“That was our agreement and I kept to it. For me, I just wanted to get healthy and wanted to be able to play – I stuck to the agreement with Louis van Gaal but obviously, the board thought a little differently about that.

“It was just me [that got moved to the youth dressing room]. After that, I was training alone for at least three months with a fitness coach. I trained before and after the [first] team. No [Jose never let me train with the first team], I guess they wanted to get rid of me. 

“In that moment, I was still super happy at United, I loved to wear the jersey, I loved it. I was thinking that maybe it was just a period, I will train now and keep myself fit and maybe one day they’ll change their mind. My dream was to always step back out into Old Trafford.”

Upon hearing the revelation of just how poorly Schweinsteiger had been treated at his former club, Neville would label it as completely against the “way to behave.”

“That’s illegal,” stated Neville. “I was the PFA Union Representative, and you’re not allowed to do that, you can’t dismiss someone like that, it’s constructive dismissal in some ways. 

“It’s probably a few years too late, you should have come and seen me at the time. I’m stunned and embarrassed at what I’m hearing because I always think, players leave clubs and people fall out, but there is a way to do things and a way to behave and act.”