Some Manchester United fans might not have expected to see Paul Pogba in the famous red shirt again.

The French World Cup winner has been absent since September and the constant setbacks gave rise to the idea he would sit out until the January transfer window then press for a move again.

But Pogba emerged from the bench after 64 minutes of United’s 2-0 defeat against Watford and he may well be key to how the festive period plays out.

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The only plus

After the Watford game, Solskjaer was quoted by iNews saying: “The last half an hour when Paul came on was the only plus. He gave us that little bit of edge and urgency.


“He played some nice passes and had a chance himself. He has been working really hard. Let’s see how he reacts to this.”

Pogba has issues with his consistency and work rate but his performance at Watford was not one of a player who wants to leave.

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Best number ten at the club

Jesse Lingard has played as the number ten in the past two Premier League matches.

While his abject chip at 0-0 may grab headlines, just as concerning is his lack of ability to create space in such a key role. Against Everton, he pushed right up alongside Anthony Martial and was completely unable to influence the game.

There has been debate over Pogba’s best position, but he is better when he has freedom to roam and reduced defensive responsibility.

Both Jose Mourinho and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have played him in the deeper role in which he won the World Cup, but he switches off too often to play there. He also can’t influence the game as much there.

But with Fred and Scott McTominay providing a solid base, Pogba as a number ten is by far a better option than Lingard or Juan Mata there.

He has vision, passing ability, an eye for goal and should be able to feed the pacey players United would have around him.

The question with Pogba is always consistency – and his lack of fitness may not allow him to play multiple games in a week right now – but shifting him into the number ten role could transform United’s festive period for the better.

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