Former Manchester United midfielder Owen Hargreaves believes Paul Pogba can play a starring role under Ralf Rangnick, when he returns from injury.
The Reds won their first game under the stewardship of the interim manager, thanks to an extremely rare right-footed curling effort from Fred.
The Brazilian’s strike was enough was to secure all three points, in a 1-0 win, against Crystal Palace at Old Trafford.
United’s number 17 was partnered by Scott McTominay against the Eagles, as the club’s German coach named an unchanged starting line-up, following Thursday’s 3-2 win against Arsenal.
It was clear, in the clash against Patrick Vieira’s side, that United had more control of the game under the 63-year-old.
After minimal time to work with his new players at Carrington, Rangnick’s desire to press and be in control of the game were clearly on display at the Theatre of Dreams.
But Hargreaves believes the former RB Leipzig manager and director of football could have more control on proceedings once Pogba is back available, as well as adding to United’s attacking threat.
However, in order for the World Cup winner to come back into the side, Hargreaves believes that Rangnick would have to drop either Fred or McTominay.
Speaking via Manchester Evening News, following yesterday’s win against Crystal Palace, Hargreaves said: “If Pogba plays instead of, say, Fred or McTominay and United are playing in one half, then you’ve got another guy that can play a pass into Cristiano Ronaldo.
“So I thought they played okay, but Marcus (Rashford) was really quiet today, Bruno (Fernandes) was pretty quiet today.”
Hargreaves feels that once United have Pogba and his French teammate Raphael Varane back available, Rangnick will be taking charge of one of the ‘strongest teams’ in the Premier League.
But the former England international felt that Rangnick’s biggest challenge will be getting the team full of talented stars, playing like one of the ‘strongest teams’.
Hargreaves added: “Getting those guys, (Raphael) Varane and Pogba, into the side, United have easily one of the strongest teams in the Premier League, but they need to start playing like it.”
Analysing Hargreaves’ Pogba comments
There is no denying that Pogba is arguably our best ball-playing central midfielder and his range of passing is potentially unrivalled.
But Rangnick’s philosophy is all about, high octane, high energy and high press. United’s number six doesn’t seem to have the same desire, discipline or skill set to be as defensively disciplined, or willing to work as hard, as the likes of Fred and McTominay.
Unless Pogba buys into Rangnick’s ‘gegenpressing’ methods, then it’s hard to see how he will oust the ‘McFred’ partnership.
Although he continues to update fans on his road to recovery, following the thigh injury he sustained whilst being on international duty with France, Rangnick will be wary of the distraction, Pogba’s future could bring to the side.
It’s highly unlikely that we will see Pogba before the New Year and at that point he and his agent Mino Raiola will be free to negotiate pre-contract terms with foreign clubs, regarding a potential free summer transfer.
- Manager “really pleased” with Manchester United loanee's performances vs league's best
- 7 players who could leave Manchester United before the transfer deadline
- 10 things we learned from Ralf Rangnick's first 10 games in charge at Manchester United
- Ranking Marcus Rashford's 4 Manchester United injury time winning goals
- Manchester United youngster expected to leave the club on loan this month