Bastian Schweinsteiger. 8 Bundesliga Titles, 7 DFB-Pokal titles, 1 Champions League, 1 World Cup.
I don't think that anyone can deny him his championships. Occasionally players manage to win those kind of trophies whilst being carried by the rest of the team, not Schweinsteiger.
Whether on the wing, in behind the forward or, as he has recently been playing extremely successfully, in a more holding midfield role, he has that something special that most managers would want straight in their first 11.
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For Manchester United last season, the real problem for them was a lack of real world class players in the midfield and a severe lack of leadership.
I always feel that when the captain is a striker (Wayne Rooney) they can't keep an eye on what the defenders and holding midfielders are doing and therefore, can't organise them.
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It was widely spread around the media about how young, inconsistent and perhaps naive the United back four were last season, but they would have been helped by a strong holding midfielder with leadership qualities.
Players like Ander Herrera and Daley Blind have quality, but I always get the feeling they need someone composed and mature next to them. The problem with playing Michael Carrick in that role is that, yes he has a calming effect, but he is lacking pace, leadership and that little bit of world class quality that can not only help the defence but also make inroads further up the field.
Nemanja Matic did this so successfully for Chelsea, Francis Coquelin has started showing signs of quality at Arsenal, Jordan Henderson has developed rapidly for Liverpool. Bastian Schweinsteiger has all of these qualities in abundance. The fact he wanted to join, and the transfer went through quite easily, helps matters also as everyone knows that he wants to be at the club.
Proof of this is starting to come to fruition. During the Wolfsburg game on the October 30 in the Champions League, Schweinsteiger looked world-class. He's been getting used to the Premier League, particularly the pace and the best way to find space and break down teams which can often prove a sticking point for some foreign imports.
Now, from this game onwards, the more he plays with them the more it will be impossible to leave him out and the more important he will become.
Against Wolfsburg, the German side looked like they were coming back into the game but Schweinsteiger would put in a perfectly-timed defensive tackle to win and then have the composure to keep the ball, usually starting another forward attack.
Forward being the operative word, not many United centre midfielders passed forwards last season, everything came from the wing.
A final point to make is that goals scored from midfield were in short supply. Between Carrick, Herrera and Blind they scored 11 goals. Schweinsteiger scored five goals in 20 games for Bayern Munich last season, as well as providing several assists. And that extra goal scoring and assisting ability could be the difference between playing for Champions League qualification and challenging for the title.
All in all, signing Bastian Schweinsteiger was a stroke of genius, United fans can expect the German to maintain his consistently match-controlling performances for the remainder of the season.
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