German midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger admits he has injury worries ahead of Thursday's UEFA EURO 2012 semi-final against Italy as he looks to shake off a niggling ankle problem.
The Bayern Munich midfielder has already endured an injury-hit season after breaking his collarbone last November before tearing ankle ligaments in February, which still hinders him ahead of the EURO 2012 semi-final in Warsaw.
Having rushed back to play for Bayern during their run to the UEFA Champions League final, the 27-year-old admits the ankle is still not 100 per cent right, but he is willing to go through the pain barrier for Germany's bid to end their 16 year trophy drought.
"To be honest, I have a few worries about the ankle," Schweinsteiger said. "The problem is when I explode off it. It has not healed properly, but the time has not come yet where can I let it heal and take a rest. We have hopefully two games left and I will grit my teeth. After that, I must see that I'm finally back in good health."
Having set up both of Mario Gomez's goals in the 2-1 win over the Netherlands as Germany went onto win Group B, Schweinsteiger was far less impressive in the 4-2 win over Greece in Friday's quarter-final. "Against the Greeks there were a few bad passes from me which normally never happens," he said. "That shouldn't happen to a player like me.
Mesut Ozil has expressed Schweinsteiger's importance to the side ahead of the against Gli Azzurri. "We need Schweinsteiger, He is a class player and one of our leaders," said the Real Madrid man. "He has been injured, but I think he is on a good track. You could see how important he is for the team in our match against Holland, I am keeping my fingers crossed he will play."
Schweinsteiger has reason to be nervous about his semi-final place. Germany coach Joachim Low has already wielded the axe at EURO 2012 by dropping forwards Gomez, Lukas Podolski and Thomas Mueller in the win over Greece.
The gamble paid off as Gomez's replacement Miroslav Klose scored his 64th goal in his 120th international appearance, while Marco Reus deputised for Mueller by also getting on the scoresheet.
Until the semi-final, Schweinsteiger will busy himself with rest and numerous trips to the physiotherapists room, but he insists he will have no problems if Low decides to drop him for the semi-final. "I was only able to take part in the final training session before the Greece game," said Schweinsteiger, who has won 94 caps for Germany.
"If the coach decides (to drop me), I would have no problem with that. We rotated a few players against Greece. People like Marco Reus, Jerome Boateng, Andre Schuerrle and Miroslav Klose all came in. For them it was very important that they received the backing from the other players. Something like that is not always self-evident in every team."