Manchester (United Kingdom) (AFP) – Bastian Schweinsteiger made a surprise return to the Manchester United bench for Sunday’s Premier League home game against West Ham United, having previously been frozen out by manager Jose Mourinho.

The 32-year-old former Germany captain has not played a minute since Mourinho was appointed manager in pre-season.

The Bayern Munich great was omitted from United’s Europa League squad and was also written off as an asset in the club’s financial results for the year ending June 30, 2016.

But he returned to first-team training at the end of October and was named among the substitutes for West Ham’s visit in the absence of Michael Carrick, who is reported to have a muscle strain.

“I’m trying to keep myself fit for the situation in which I am needed,” Schweinsteiger said earlier this month.

“Hopefully I will be given a chance. I look forward to training every day and being able to train with the team. I don’t know if I will get a chance, but I hope so.”

Despite his exile, Schweinsteiger has continued to attend United’s matches, regularly posting pictures of himself at Old Trafford on social media.

Schweinsteiger, a key figure in Germany’s 2014 World Cup-winning team, joined United from Bayern in 2015 when Louis van Gaal was manager.