It’s going to be a long wait. Paul Pogba is unlikely to return until December, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has told Manchester United’s official website.
He said: “United after the international break, but probably it will be December before we can see him. I’m not a doctor but there is an injury there that needs healing. Yes, it’s his ankle.”
Two away wins in a row for United is a promising sign that the team is finally learning how to play, and win, without Pogba.
His extended absence is far from ideal. But it does provide increased opportunity for four players. Here is a look at who benefits…
Young star Scott McTominay is stepping up as the leader of Manchester United’s midfield.
The 22-year-old was man-of-the-match against Norwich, scoring his second goal of the season.
With Pogba out, there is extra responsibility on McTominay’s shoulders, and he is embracing it.
He is getting a chance to shine, and this could be the making of him. Whoever is signed in the future, could end up as Scott McTominay’s midfield partner, rather than his replacement.
If Pogba was fit, Fred would likely have spent much of the last few weeks on the bench.
It has been an up and down spell for Fred, but he has shown some promise in the last couple of Premier League games.
To be a success at Manchester United, Fred needs to play regularly. Pogba’s injury gives him a chance to do so.
The Brazilian is a direct beneficiary of Pogba’s absence, and it is now up to him to use his opportunity.
McTominay and Fred are beginning to form an effective midfield duo, with Andreas Pereira in front of them.
Many believe Pereira’s role is one in which Pogba could thrive, and when the Frenchman returns, that could be where he plays, if McTominay and Fred do enough to keep their places.
Pereira is just getting started in a central attacking role, but he is having a positive impact so far, creating six chances in the last two games.
While Pogba remains out of action, Pereira has one less competitor for his favoured position.
18-year-old James Garner made his first Manchester United start in the win over Partizan Belgrade.
His under-23 form has seen him called up as a regular into Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad, coupled with United’s midfield injury problems.
Nemanja Matic’s injury along with Pogba has left Garner as next in line behind McTominay and Fred.
The early signs are that he is up to the task. Pogba’s injury extends his importance to the United first team in the short term, and November could be a huge month for him, with a first Premier League start becoming more probable than possible.
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