Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has revealed Paul Pogba will return to first-team training next week.
The 26-year-old French midfielder has been struggling with a serious ankle problem for much of this season, which has reduced him to just eight appearances in all competitions.
Pogba last turned out for the Red Devils in their 4-1 win over Newcastle United on Boxing Day, playing 45 minutes before sitting out their last nine league games. That was his first start after being sidelined for several months with the same problem.
He has since undergone surgery, and during his period of recovery, speculation about his long-term future at Old Trafford has resurfaced. Pogba was heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid last summer and he even hinted about embarking on a new challenge.
However, a move failed to materialise and he remained in the North West, but that hasn’t stopped discussions of Pogba leaving following the conclusion of this season.
With a European Championship on the horizon and Man Utd fighting on three fronts, there’s plenty for Pogba to look forward to, and Solskjaer has now confirmed his comeback is on the horizon.
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“Paul’s still working with the physios outside and he won’t be training with the first-team until next week and then let’s see how long that will take, he will need some time to get his football fitness back,” he told reporters.
Fernandes’ impact doesn’t surprise Solsjkaer
Pogba’s absence has affected the Red Devils midfield and prior to Bruno Fernandes’ arrival, the middle of the park was a soft underbelly. However, following his signing, they look like a different beast, with the Portugal international galvanising those around him.
He’s so far registered three goals and two assists in six matches and to say Solskjaer has been taken aback by his seamless transition would be wrong.
“I’m not surprised,” Solskjaer said. “Because I saw what he can do on the pitch and I saw his leadership qualities. If you do your due diligence and speak to people who know his personality, you hope he’d have this influence.
“I’m not surprised, but you couldn’t be 100 per cent sure. Some players take six months, but the point was to get him in because of the quality he’s got. He’s just relished it.
“He loves being around the place, he’s just come in with that aura about him that you need in players.”