'José Mourinho banished me to Man Utd U16s on my birthday'

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'José Mourinho banished me to Man Utd U16s on my birthday'
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Former Germany captain Bastian Schweinsteiger has lifted the lid on how José Mourinho treated him that led to his exit from Manchester United.

Hailed as one of the greatest German players of all time, Schweinsteiger was coming towards the end of his playing days when he left his boyhood club Bayern Munich to sign for United in 2015.

His first season at Old Trafford was solid as he played 18 Premier League games under Louis van Gaal, who he worked under at Bayern.

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However, Schweinsteiger's second season immediately turned into a miserable one once Mourinho was appointed as the Dutchman's successor.

The Portuguese tactician seemingly decided on the first day that Schweinsteiger wasn't going to have a role under the new direction and banished him from the first team squad.

Speaking to Gary Neville on The Overlap, the 39-year-old recalled the exact moment he was told he wasn't permitted to enter the first-team dressing room.

When I arrived on the first day, I trained with Zlatan Ibrahimović 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, [United's football director] 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.

Someone could have told me there or explained it to me in a normal way, but okay, I went to the youth dressing room and trained with the under-16s.

A meeting was then set up between the player and manager upon Schweinsteiger's request to find out why he was being treated so harshly.

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.

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After his meeting with Mourinho, the World Cup winner trained alone for at least three months with a fitness coach.

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Mourinho did apologise for his treatment of Schweinsteiger albeit too late to repair the fractured relationship.

The first time someone apologised was when I decided to leave United for America, and asked José if I could do that.

He then apologised for the way he treated me in the beginning, and he had to let me go because he could not say no to me in that moment.

It was common knowledge at the time that Schweinsteiger had been banished but the reasons why have never been made clear.

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For his part, Mourinho stated at the time of the player's departure that he regretted the way he had treated him.

He's in the category of players that I feel sorry for something that I did to him.

I don't want to speak about him as a player, I don't want to speak as I buy or not to buy. I want to speak about him as a professional, as a human being.

The last thing I told him before he left, "I was not right with you once, I have to be right with you now." So when he was asking me to let him leave I had to say, "Yes, you can leave because I did it once, I cannot do it twice."

So I feel sorry for the first period with him, he knows that. I am happy that he knows because I told him.

I will miss a good guy, a good professional, a good influence in training - a very good influence.

Despite injury setbacks and a tumultuous relationship with Mourinho, Schweinsteiger managed to play a total of 35 games for the Red Devils in two years.

He left the club in 2017 to join MLS side Chicago Fire before hanging up his boots two years later.

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