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Bastian Schweinsteiger needs the support of Louis van Gaal - Bierhoff

ESPN FC's Steve Nicol discusses the role of Bastian Schweinsteiger in the Manchester United squad and his importance to the team.

Manchester United midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger needs the backing of his club manager Louis van Gaal, according to Germany general manager Oliver Bierhoff.

Van Gaal has publicly criticised Schweinsteiger's performances since the player's summer move to United from Bayern Munich, but the midfielder has not featured since sustaining his knee injury in the FA Cup win against Sheffield United during January.

Bierhoff, who works under Joachim Low, has plenty of options to take Schweinsteiger's place, but Die Mannschaft remain hopeful that their captain can return for Euro 2016.

"Every player needs the backing of the coach, the same goes for Bastian," Bierhoff told Bild. "Generally, I find it unfortunate if a coach publicly criticises a player so hard.

"I think with the prospect of participating as a captain in a European Championship, motivation and concentration will come back [for Schweinsteiger].

"On Bastian's position, competition is keen, which we already say from the World Cup. I assume that Bastian will be at the Euros. He is an important part of the team."

Bastian Schweinsteiger celebrates scoring against Leicester before his injury.

Eight days ago, Van Gaal had said he wanted more from the 31-year-old: "Bastian has been unlucky because he picked up an injury at a time that he was playing very well -- he was improving. However, during December I said that I expect more and he was very disappointed I said that, but I think I can say that because my expectation is higher.

"Manchester United has bought him even though he is now 31, so I had to convince the board to buy him, because he's a very good player and he always gives a team more balance."

Bierhoff is hoping that the incentive of Euro 2016 will help Schweinsteiger stay focused and is taking heart from the case of Sami Khedira, who had a six-month absence due to a serious injury before the 2014 World Cup but still played in Brazil.

"I am in constant contact with Bastian," he added. "His current injury doesn't worry me. Generally speaking, I think it's good if players are able to completely recover from their injuries.

"I know Bastian is absolutely focused on the Euros, and I have every confidence that he will prepare thoroughly and do anything for it. He is in our plans."

Arindam is ESPN FC's Manchester United correspondent. Follow him @ARejSport

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