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Friday, 19 June 2020

Manchester United reveal plans for Paul Pogba return

Paul Pogba could make his first appearance in 176 days for Man United tonight after overcoming an ankle injury that has restricted him to six starts this season.

Manchester United reveal plans for Paul Pogba return

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has indicated Paul Pogba could be eased back into the Manchester United side after a six-month absence.

Pogba, 27, has started just six times this season due to ankle problems but is fit again and if he is involved at Spurs on Friday night it will be his first appearance in 176 days.

Bruno Fernandes has enhanced the United midfield and that department was in rude health at the time of the mid-March lockdown, with Nemanja Matic,Scott McTominay, and Fred all in fine form.

Pogba has not scored a goal from open play in nearly 16 months and his preparations for this season were overshadowed by doubts over his United future, but Solskjaer insists the France international is still one of the best midfielders on the planet.

"Yeah, I really hope and believe," Solskjaer said when asked if United would soon see the best of Pogba. "Of course, Paul has had his difficult season this year with loads of injuries but I can see his mentality and focus now that he is fit and training and available, that he is ready to play again and to prove [himself].

"He has always had quality, Paul. He is one of the best midfielders in the world, so hopefully we can get that going as soon as possible.

"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 we expect him to gradually improve as he gets more and more game time.

"I don’t know if it’s 45 minutes this time, is it 60? So gradually over these next few months we can work him up back to his best. Paul has had  a very good career. He is a World Cup winner and we want to have that leadership on the pitch as well."

United have been buoyed not just by the return of Pogba but Marcus Rashford, who has recovered from a back injury he aggravated in January.

Both are expected to be named in the matchday squad at Tottenham, where Solskjaer can pick two more players and make up to five substitutions under new Premier League rules for the remainder of the season.

Despite going 99 days without a competitive game, United are still undefeated in 11 and Solskjaer is optimistic they can have a successful run-in with Chelsea only three points above them in the table.

United will resume their FA Cup campaign in the quarter-finals at Norwich next week and they are bound for Germany to compete in the knockout stages of the Europa League in August.

"I hope that we can show our best form until the end of the season because it’s a big two months for us," Solskjaer added.

"And if we can get everyone up to speed as quick as we can we have got a good chance of challenging for trophies and challenging for the top three positions, because I think we have to look upwards.

"The first couple of games in a new season, which this is, a mini-season, things always seem to happen - individual mistakes, a referee makes a mistake or even Hawkeye makes a mistake [in the Aston Villa-Sheffield United draw], and we hope that we can get a good start against Tottenham.

"With Paul and Marcus back, having everyone fit will stand us in good stead and we hope to challenge for trophies towards the end."


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