Bastian Schweinsteiger has thanked team mate Marouane Fellaini in allowing the iconic German to claim Manchester United’s no. 31 shirt.
The influential German, who also recently turned 31, wore the number during his trophy-filled time with German giants Bayern Munich and was keen to yield the same digit in United colours.
Schweinsteiger, who signed for United in July and has made two substitute appearances in their opening two Premier League wins, said the gesture meant a lot.
“I was happy that the coach gave me the No. 31 and was really surprised as well,” he told United’s website.
“Thank you to Felli too. For me, I played there since I played my first game for Bayern and 31 means a lot to me.”
Fellaini has now switched to no. 27 and after being sent off in the final game of last season against Hull City, the Belgian faces an uphill struggle to impose himself on a new look midfield.
The additions of Morgan Schneiderlin and Schweinsteiger have added some much needed guile and presence to a United midfield which was found wanting on numerous occasions last season.
Due to Fellaini’s rash antics at the KC stadium, the Belgian was used sparingly by Louis van Gaal in America as the Dutchman prepared for life without the former Everton man for the first three games domestically.
With Fellaini available ahead of United’s crucial Champions League qualifier against Club Brugge on Tuesday, it will be intriguing to see whether Van Gaal recalls the gangly Belgian to the match day squad.
The Dutch manager was heavily criticised last season when using Fellaini as a target man but after significantly strengthening the midfield department this summer, the Belgian’s renaissance at Old Trafford may be short lived due to the level of competition in the midfield area.
Image courtesy of Bundesliga via YouTube, with thanks.