Paul Scholes has singled out Manchester United midfielder Schweinsteiger for criticism.
He feels Schweinsteiger has been too cautious in his play for the Old Trafford club and the former United midfielder thinks it’s a result of how Van Gaal has asked his team to play.
The German midfielder arrived at Old Trafford from Bayern Munich in the summer and he’s become a regular in Louis van Gaal’s team alongside either Michael Carrick or Morgan Schneiderlin in midfield. But Scholes believes Schweinsteiger, who was instrumental in United’s winner at Watford on Saturday, has been too cautious in the way he’s played since signing for United.
And the former United midfielder thinks it’s a result of how Van Gaal has asked his team to play. The biggest art as a midfield player is to find space, not in your back four or left-back position, in the centre of the park where it’s most congested, and contribute to your forward players. According To Scholes, Schweinsteiger has been lacking in these aspects at United.
However, there have been a few of hints in the past couple of games that Manchester United are starting to get the best out of Bastian Schweinsteiger. The man whom the fans call Deutscher Fussballmeister—in a chant adapted from Bayern Munich fans—was imperious for much of the game against Liverpool in September.
His numbers tell part of the story. It was only his second 90-minute outing—his first being the defeat to Swansea City. During the game, he had 106 touches of the ball—the most of any United player. He made 86 passes and completed 86.1 per cent of them. There were no key passes among them, however. He was purposeful in possession much of the time, and his confidence and forward-thinking play were evident in the three dribbles he attempted. He was also defensively vital, making four tackles—more than anyone else in the United side.
He has a good deal of flair, which was clear against Liverpool when he was happy to flick through passes with a backheel to catch opponents off guard. There was also plenty of evidence of that which is near impossible to sum up with statistics: leadership. Michael Carrick wore the captain’s armband against Liverpool—as Chris Smalling did against the first leg match against PSV Eindhoven—but on both occasions, it was clear Schweinsteiger has become the de facto leader—Louis van Gaal’s true proxy on the pitch.
He is very vocal, organising those around him. He gives particular attention to the young players—indeed there is a telling photo of him talking to Anthony Martial against Liverpool, pointing to his eye as if to instruct the youngster to keep an eye out for something specific.
Against PSV, the team desperately needed that leadership. Rocked by the upsetting injury to Luke Shaw, several United players never really looked as though they recovered their composure. That could not be said of Schweinsteiger, who continued to encourage and cajole. And it was a moment of brilliance from the German that created the best chance the Red Devils managed once they went behind. Juan Mata is presumably still kicking himself about his miscontrol in front of goal from a perfectly weighted through ball from Schweinsteiger.
Scholes is a great player no doubt, but this incessant complaining about how Van Gaal’s tactics are unsatisfactory and now about Schweinsteiger, it is getting to be a little frustrating.