Solskjaer hints at Pogba selection
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hinted that Paul Pogba could make his first appearance of 2020 when Manchester United face Tottenham Hotspur on Friday night.
The France midfielder has featured eight times for the Reds this season – and not since the Boxing Day victory over Newcastle – due to a troublesome ankle injury, but is ready to return after stepping up his recovery during football’s three-month hiatus.
While it remains to be seen whether Paul plays from the start or as one of the nine substitutes the Reds are permitted to name at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the boss suggested that we could see up to an hour of the 27-year-old in action, as Solskjaer seeks to reintegrate him into his side.
“Of course, I want the same from Paul as from all the others, that we give our best and Paul is one of the best midfielders in the world. So of course we expect him to gradually improve as he gets more and more game time,” said the boss, when asked what kind of performances he anticipates from the former Academy product.
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“I don't know if it's 45 minutes this time, is it 60, so gradually, over the next few months, we can work him up back to his best, because Paul has had a very, very good career.
“Of course, he is a World Cup winner and we want to have that leadership on the pitch as well.”
One of the most tantalising prospects for Reds fans watching all over the globe will be how Pogba dovetails with January signing Bruno Fernandes.
The Portuguese playmaker became an instant hit with supporters after supercharging our attack virtually immediately upon his arrival, and Solskjaer is looking forward to seeing the mercurial Pogba at his best once again.
“Yeah, I really hope and believe [we can see Paul perform consistently],” the manager added.
“Of course, Paul's had a difficult season this year with loads of injuries, but I can see his mentality and his focus now that he's fit and training and available, that he is ready to play again.
“He's always had quality Paul, he's one of the best midfielders in the world, so hopefully we can get that going as soon as possible.”
In Pogba’s absence, the thriving midfield quartet of Fernandes, Fred, Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic helped United carve out an 11-match unbeaten run before the clocks went forward - and the lights went off on football across Europe.
Now, as we approach the height of summer – an unfamiliar time in which to be playing in domestic competition – Ole has an almost fully fit squad at his disposal and admits he’ll have to think about how to use each of his midfielders in order to get the best out of them.
“I think it's given me, not a problem, but a nice challenge to choose and pick the right ones when they're in the right form against the right opponents.
“As you said, Nemanja, Scott, Fred, they've had a fantastic turnaround, all of them, they've had a good season.
“Bruno came in with a great impact and Paul getting back fit can only help us, because he does have qualities that no-one else has.”
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