Paul Pogba warming up.

Jose explains why Pogba starts as captain

Friday 10 August 2018 19:44

World Cup-winner Paul Pogba has been named by Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho as the man to lead the Reds into the new Premier League season against Leicester City.

The Frenchman won the World Cup with his country in Russia less than a month ago, scoring in the final against Croatia during France’s 4-2 triumph.

Pogba has since been on holiday recuperating following his season with United and World Cup duty. He has been back in training for just four days but manager Mourinho has shown great faith in the 25-year-old as he hands him the skipper’s armband for the opener against the Foxes.

Fred makes his competitive debut for the Reds.

"Last season, he was captain a few times," Jose told Sky Sports. "The captain is [Antonio] Valencia. Valencia is not here. Paul is one of the options. It’s his third season in the club, he was made in the Academy and understands the club, the culture of the club and the tradition. He is with the boys in the dressing room and is a good example today of putting himself available to try to participate."

Pogba will be joined in midfield by United’s new recruit Fred, who was bought from Shakhtar Donetsk earlier in the summer. Young midfielder Andreas Pereira, who impressed on United’s tour of the US, is also included in the first starting XI of the new season, while Romelu Lukaku and Ashley Young are among the substitutes.

"They want [to] but some can’t [play]," added the boss. "Some of them clearly they couldn’t [play] – for example, [Nemanja] Matic went directly to hospital, direct to surgery. Jesse doesn’t feel in the conditions to help us. Paul said: ‘Yes, okay’. Romelu said not to start but, from the bench, I can give you a hand. This is what we need at this time. We don’t have our team but we have a team. A team that wants to compete. All the boys with good spirits to try to help, if not for 90 minutes, then for a few minutes.”
Jesse Lingard is unavailable to feature against his former loan club.

Leicester selected Harry Maguire at the heart of the defence but fellow England international Jamie Vardy, who signed a new deal this week, only makes the bench. Former Red Jonny Evans is also among the visitors' substitutes.

United: De Gea: Darmian, Bailly, Lindelof, Shaw; Fred, Pogba, Andreas, Mata, Alexis, Rashford. Subs: Grant, Smalling, Young, Fellaini, McTominay, Martial, Lukaku.

Leicester: Schmeichel, R. Pereira, Maguire, Morgan, Chilwell, Gray, Amartey, Silva, Ndidi, Maddison, Iheanacho. Subs: Ward, Evans, Albrighton, Iborra, Fuchs, Ghezzal, Vardy.

Kasper Schmeichel keeps goal against his father's ex-club.