Bastian Schweinsteiger thanks Marouane Fellaini and Van Gaal for No. 31 jersey at Manchester United
Manchester United summer signing Bastain Schweinsteiger has thanked new club teammate Marouane Fellaini and manager Louis van Gaal for letting him have his favourite jersey number 31, according to Manchester United’s official website. The German international said that this small gesture has helped him to settle in England and added that it is starting to feel like home.
The 31-year-old, who was made skipper of the German national team following the retirement of Philipp Lahm, spent 13 seasons with Bayern Munich before making the switch to Old Trafford. He joined the German giants as a youth player ahead of the 1998/99 season and made his debut for the senior team three years later wearing the No 31 jersey.
That remained the midfielder's number through his career at Bayern where he played 500 matches across all competitions scoring 67 goals in the process. Following his move to United in a £14-million deal in the summer transfer window, Schweinsteiger was handed the No. 23 shirt for the club’s pre-season tour to the United States.
However, when the official squad numbers for the 2015/16 season was announced, he was delighted but at the same time surprised at getting his favourite jersey number on his back.
31 means a lot to me: Schweinsteiger
"I was happy that the coach gave me the no.31 and was really surprised as well,” Schweinsteiger told manutd.com, before opening up on his bond with the number.
“For me, I played there since I played my first game for Bayern and 31 means a lot to me.”
Belgian international Fellaini had worn the No 31 jersey in his two seasons at Old Trafford since making the move from Goodison Park in 2013 and Schweinsteiger was mindful of thanking his fellow midfielder for his gesture as well. He also added that as trivial as the issue may seem to some, it had helped him settle into his new surroundings adding a homely feel.
"So thank you to Felli too. I didn’t expect the coach would give me the number, but he decided, and the club decided, and it gives me a little bit more feeling like I’m at home, yes,” he said.
Schweinsteiger is still awaiting his full competitive debut for United having come off the bench in both of the club’s opening Premier League matches against Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa. He will be hopeful of making a start in United’s next match which is against Club Brugge of Belgium in the UEFA Champions League playoff.