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Mourinho explains decision to recall castaway Schweinsteiger

Manchester United Training And Press Conference

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 16: Ashley Young of Manchester United (L) and Bastian Schweinsteiger of Manchester United take part in a drill during a training session ahead of the UEFA Europa League round of 16 second leg match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Aon Training Complex on March 16, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

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ISTANBUL (AP) Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says Bastian Schweinsteiger is back training with the first-team squad partly so the midfielder can improve his condition ahead of a potential departure in the January transfer window.

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The former Germany captain has not featured for United this season under Mourinho, and has been training away from the senior squad.

Mourinho decided last week that the 32-year-old Schweinsteiger should rejoin first-team training, and said Wednesday “he’ll be in much better condition, in case his future decision is to leave the club, to go direct to competition.”

Mourinho said Schweinsteiger could only play his way back into the team “if one day we have problems in midfield.”

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Schweinsteiger hasn’t played for United since March. His last competitive match was as a substitute in Germany’s loss to France in the European Championship semifinals in July.

Mourinho was speaking ahead of United’s Europa League group match against Fenerbahce in Turkey on Thursday. Schweinsteiger isn’t in United’s squad for the game.