Cape Town - Ilkay Gundogan has blasted rivals Manchester United for their treatment of fellow German Bastian Schweinsteiger.
World Cup winner Schweinsteiger has been unceremoniously axed by Man United manager Jose Mourinho this season, with the 32-year-old kept out of the first-team frame and told he has no future at Old Trafford.
But Manchester City midfielder Gundogan is adamant that Schweinsteiger could still make a contribution for United and has criticised Mourinho in excluding a player who has won 23 major honours.
"I believe that Manchester United could 100% benefit from a fit Bastian Schweinsteiger," Gundogan told German newspaper Bild.
"If everything you hear and read is true, you can consider it disrespectful. He's not just some player, and also not only 18 or 19."
Schweinsteiger announced his retirement from international football during the summer after earning 121 caps for his country.
Gundogan is in line to take Schweinsteiger’s spot in the German line-up after recovering from a long-term knee injury.
"I trusted myself to do that before [Schweinsteiger's retirement], but this has nothing to do with saying his retirement is positive or negative," he added.
"We should be thankful that we had such a great player."