EPL right fit for Bastian?

Beckenbauer raises doubts but midfielder says he is healthy, has a lot of experience

SEATTLE • On a day when Wayne Rooney revealed that he would consider playing in Major League Soccer once his Manchester United career is over, new team-mate Bastian Schweinsteiger hit back at Franz Beckenbauer for claiming he should have gone to America instead of England.

Bayern Munich legend Beckenbauer had questioned Schweinsteiger's decision to leave the Allianz Arena for England after 17 years. But the 30-year-old midfielder is confident of being up to the physical demands of the Premier League.

"I find it very brave to make a move like this at his age," Beckenbauer, Bayern's honorary president, said. "People know Schweinsteiger at Bayern and know what he can do. That's not the case in England. He will have to prove himself all over again...

"A move to MLS would have made more sense to me."

Beckenbauer left the Bavarian giants for the New York Cosmos when he was 32.

But Schweinsteiger, who turns 31 at the start of next month, insisted that he still feels good despite injury problems that limited him to just 82 starts in the past four campaigns for Bayern.

"I had last year the thing with my knee after the World Cup, which was very intensive and I had a break at October. But from that time on, I had no injury, I was fit and felt fit at the end," he said on Thursday following his £14.4 million (S$30.7 million) move earlier in the week.

"Of course, sometimes when you're getting older, you need a little more time for recovery, maybe half a day more than 20-year-old players, so that's normal," he said. "But I think I have a lot of experience, especially of the big matches and that is an advantage always."

On being able to adjust to the Premier League, he added that he was confident.

"My style of play is to control a game. You have to be smart in your brain and fast. For me, it is very important to control a situation in defence. You can always score goals but you have to add stability in the defence."

Schweinsteiger is with United in North America for their pre-season tour, and captain Rooney said he is open to returning to the continent to play in the MLS one day.

Said the 29-year-old. "When that time comes, that'll be something I'd think about. I'll sit down with my wife and children and decide if it would be right for me."

However, he still believes he is making improvements.

"You're always adapting tactically," the striker said. "You read the game better. I think that's one of my qualities. That's something that's changed from me."


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 18, 2015, with the headline 'EPL RIGHT FIT FOR BASTIAN?'. Print Edition | Subscribe