Schweini never fully fit, says Pep
BAYERN Munich manager Pep Guardiola has cast doubt on Manchester United's new midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, saying his former player was never fully fit during the last three seasons.
Schweinsteiger joined United for £14.4 million (S$30.9 million) last month after 17 years with Bayern, but the Germany midfielder has been plagued by a succession of injury problems in recent seasons.
Although a huge admirer of Schweinsteiger's talent, Guardiola believes that the midfielder's prospects of success at Old Trafford will hinge on his ability to overcome the injury woes that persuaded the German champions to sell the 31-year-old.
Schweinsteiger started just 53 of 108 matches under Guardiola and has averaged only 20 starts per season over the past four Bundesliga campaigns, as he battled a series of knee and ankle issues.
Guardiola said Schweinsteiger, 31, can be a success at the English Premier League club only if he can shake off his injury problems.
"When he does not have injury problems, I am completely convinced he will do very well at Manchester United," Guardiola was quoted as saying by the British media.
"He is a top, top player. Unfortunately, during the last three years, he was never in good condition. He is going to play really good there (at United). I really hope that is going to happen."
German World Cup winner Schweinsteiger has been plagued by ankle and knee injuries throughout his career.
His fitness problems were evident during United's pre- season tour to the United States last month, and there is understood to be some concern at the club about the impact a glut of prolonged, debilitating injuries have had on the player's conditioning, noted The Times.
Having missed the 3-1 friendly win against Barcelona in Santa Clara, in the US, through injury, Schweinsteiger's movement appeared laboured in the 2-0 defeat by Paris Saint-Germain in Chicago five days ago, notably in the build-up to the French champions' second goal, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic speeding away from him with ease to score.
Schweinsteiger most recently made 30 or more league appearances in a season in 2010-11, and there are worries about whether his body will be able to withstand the physical rigours of the Premier League, a situation that may be exacerbated by the absence of a winter break in England.
He might also have to settle for a minor role during the opening weeks of the season, with Louis van Gaal, the United manager, likely to partner Morgan Schneiderlin, another new signing, from Southampton, alongside Michael Carrick in central midfield.