English Premiership

Schweinsteiger keen for Manchester derby

2015-10-24 10:36
Bastian Schweinsteiger (Getty Images)

Manchester - The Manchester derby is no longer a clash of warring Mancunian tribes, but Sunday's 170th instalment at Old Trafford carries a fascination for overseas players like Manchester United's Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Twenty years ago both teams boasted Manchester-born players, with Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and the Neville brothers lining up for United against City's homegrown cohort of Richard Edghill, Garry Flitcroft and Nicky Summerbee, son of former Maine Road great Mike Summerbee.

There will not be one Mancunian on the pitch at kick-off this weekend, as Premier League leaders City cross town to third-place United, but what the game has lost in local connections it has gained in worldwide renown.

"I think it is something very special and we should be very happy that we have two big clubs in one city that are also playing in the Champions League," Germany midfielder Schweinsteiger told United's match-day programme.

"I remember when I was in (Bayern) Munich we were always looking for that, but the other team at 1860 Munich didn't play so well! Here, we can play lots of derbies and I am very happy about that."

The game's global pull was demonstrated on Friday when City received a visit from no less a figure than the Chinese president Xi Jinping, a reputed United fan, who was in Britain on a state trip.

For both City and United - founded, respectively, by a pair of church wardens and a group of railwaymen in the latter part of the 19th century - it was a reminder of the extraordinary reach that they now exert.

Both feature in the top five of Forbes magazine's list of the world's most valuable football clubs, but it is for the earthy intensity of their on-pitch encounters that their rivalry enjoys such a broad appeal.

Another player set for his derby bow is City's Belgian forward Kevin De Bruyne, who continued his excellent start to life in Manchester with an injury-time winner against Sevilla in the Champions League on Wednesday.

De Bruyne's last game at Old Trafford came in August 2013, in a 0-0 draw with Chelsea that was to be his last league start for the London club.

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