How Man Utd could line up if Premier League resumes – with Paul Pogba back in fold
Manchester United, like other clubs across the country, are waiting to see what will happen with the Premier League season. But, should it resume, Paul Pogba will be back in the fold. The France international has been out of action since the 4-1 victory over Newcastle on Boxing Day. So Express Sport will now take a look at how the Red Devils could look if the campaign does start up again.
Goalkeeper and defence
David De Gea has had an erratic season between the sticks – but still maintains the backing of manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
He’s not expected to lose his place anytime soon but will come under pressure should mistakes continue, particularly with Dean Henderson returning in the summer.
At right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka is an established regular – as well as centre-backs Victor Lindelof and Harry Maguire.
Eric Bailly has been impressive since his return from injury but Solskjaer’s preference remains a defensive axis of Lindelof and Maguire, particularly given their composure on the ball.
And Luke Shaw would likely keep his place at left-back, regardless of Brandon Williams’ impressive breakthrough season.
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Pogba is set to walk back into the United side, with Solskjaer assuring the France international that he’ll be a regular in his side.
And the Frenchman is primed to play alongside Bruno Fernandes, who has sparkled ever since his January arrival from Primeira Liga giants Sporting Lisbon.
United are counting on the duo to help boost their chances of playing Champions League football next season.
And Solskjaer also thinks Scott McTominay will be key to any potential partnership.
The Scotland international has enjoyed a terrific season in midfield and will be trusted with doing the defensive duties, allowing both Pogba and Fernandes to go forward.
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Marcus Rashford should be fit again by the time football could potentially come back, with the England international set to return having been sidelined since January.
He’d likely rock up on the left wing, where he’s scored 19 goals across all competitions this season.
That would allow Solskjaer to keep Anthony Martial down the middle. The France international starred before the coronavirus crisis, scoring four goals from six games.
On the right United want to sign Jadon Sancho – but can’t until the summer.
And that means Daniel James is likely to keep his spot in Solskjaer’s starting XI for the time being.
Complete United XI: De Gea, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, McTominay, Fernandes, Pogba, James, Martial, Rashford
Pogba has been defended by former United star Matteo Darmian, who feels the France international receives a lot of unwarranted criticism.
“Paul is my friend and I have an excellent relationship with him,” the ex-United defender told The Guardian. “First of all: we are talking about a real champion here, a great footballer, but even they can have some periods when they don’t do as well [as they would like].
“The real “problem” with Pogba at United, I think, was the price the club paid for him and that conditioned the way people perceived him.
“There has been a lot of unjustified criticism towards Pogba, for example, that he doesn’t work hard enough, but he always gave his best, I can assure you, in every training session.
“In my opinion, his performances were good in recent years, they talk about him too negatively [in the UK].
“Did I see Pogba unhappy or willing to leave? No, I honestly didn’t see him sad or unhappy, quite the opposite, for all the time I was in Manchester, Paul was absolutely happy with his decision to go back there. He really cares about doing well at Manchester United.”
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