Manchester United captain Harry Maguire has backed Paul Pogba to help Bruno Fernandes reach new heights.

Maguire believes Pogba will respond positively to the competition for places in central midfield.

Bruno Fernandes, Fred, Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay were all in excellent form before the season was halted.

Pogba has not started a game for United since September due to injury, while Fernandes, signed in January, has really kicked on since his arrival.

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Speaking to Sky Sports, Maguire said he is confident United fans will see an impressive partnership from Fernandes and Pogba when the Frenchman makes his comeback.

He said: “He’s been brilliant since he’s come in, off the field around the training ground, he’s a leader and wants to win, everything he does he wants to win, you can tell he’s been brought up with that attitude.

“It’s a start, there are lots of aspects of his game I’m sure he’ll want to improve, and I’m sure he will improve. I’m sure he will get better for this club.

“We’ve got Paul to come back as well, who I’m sure will probably make himself lift his game even more.

“We have a lot of competition in that centre midfield now, they know they have to be on their game to keep their spot, so I’m sure we’ll see the benefit.”

Maguire added that he is pleased how new teammate Bruno Fernandes has been ‘brilliant’ so far and has helped raise the standard at United.

The right message

Last season’s big summer signing is feeling confident after United’s recent unbeaten run.

It has put United back into contention to clinch a Champions League place, after an indifferent start to the season.

Maguire sensibly has said this isn’t what United should be aiming for.

He commented: “Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of aspects we need to improve to get to the top of where we want to be. We don’t want to be challenging for this Champions League spot, we want to be challenging for titles.”

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This is what we want to hear. Obviously this new United team must learn to walk before we can run, but there are steps being taken in the right direction.

Nobody at United wants this club to be like the Arsenal of the late Arsene Wenger years, where players celebrated on the pitch and took dressing room selfies to toast finishing in fourth place. That attitude has only accelerated their decline.

United’s desire to aim for the top and keep focus on a determination to be the best again ensures priorities are not lost in the big picture.

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