Paul Pogba: Man Utd boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer looking for leadership from midfielder

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June 19, 2020
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    Paul Pogba (left) and Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solksjaer

    Paul Pogba (left) has not played for Manchester United since 26 December

    Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to see some leadership on the pitch from Paul Pogba.

    The club record signing, 27, has made just two appearances since September because of a fractured foot.

    But despite speculation about his future, Pogba’s chances of staying at United have increased – with the transfer market expected to collapse because of Covid-19’s financial impact.

    “Paul is one of the best midfielders in the world,” said Solskjaer.

    “He is a World Cup winner and we want to have that leadership on the pitch.”

    Pogba last played for United on 26 December as he attempted a comeback from his injury, but suffered a setback and required surgery on his foot in January.

    With United set to resume their Premier League campaign at Tottenham on Friday – more than three months after the campaign was halted by the coronavirus pandemic – Solskjaer wants to see the France midfielder make a bigger impact.

    “Now that he is fit and training and available, I can see from his mentality and focus, that he is ready to play again,” Solskjaer said.

    “Whether that is for 45 minutes this time, or 60 I don’t know but gradually, over these next few months, we hope to work him back up to his best.”

    BBC Sport understands United’s coaching staff were encouraged by the pairing of Pogba and January signing Bruno Fernandes in the same team during last week’s friendly defeat by West Brom at Old Trafford.

    With Scotland international Scott McTominay one of United’s best performers of the season and both Fred and Nemanja Matic improving as the campaign went along, the midfield area – once a weakness – has become a strength.

    “Any of them would be capable of playing a full season as a regular at Manchester United so it’s given me a nice challenge to pick the right ones against the right opponents,” said Solskjaer.

    By the time they take to the field at Tottenham, 103 days will have elapsed since United beat Manchester City at Old Trafford in their last Premier League match.

    The victory moved them to within three points of a place in the top four and extended their unbeaten run to 11 games, matching the run they went on after Solskjaer replaced current Spurs boss Jose Mourinho in December 2018.

    “Beating City in front of our own fans was a proud moment,” said Solskjaer.

    “We are always going to be about young players with courage who try to express themselves and play with pace and power. But we also need consistency at the back, which was probably the main reason for our win that day.”

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