When Paul Pogba returned to Manchester United’s side last June after several months out, he was a key part of the team securing Champions League qualification.

Yet it always felt during this stretch that Pogba was holding back, or being held back.

The Frenchman played a deep midfield role alongside Nemanja Matic, and while it worked to an extent, there were games where it seemed like a waste of his talent.

Pogba is at his best when he is allowed to roam forward, and the game against AC Milan showed this.

Photo by MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP via Getty Images

Let him attack

Pogba played in a wide left role, with Fred and Scott McTominay staying deep to do much of the midfield dirty work.

To his credit, Pogba got back and mixed it too, and did his defensive duty. But it was in the final third he did the damage.

Pogba scored United’s goal, getting forward inside Milan’s box to join the attack and finish comfortably from close range.

He drove United forward the entire second half, creating two chances himself, attempting three shots, and winning three free-kicks.

Pogba can be a real dangerman when he is let loose, free of the shackles of playing in a midfield pivot.

He has shown this throughout this year, almost grabbing a late winner at Anfield, managing to do so against Fulham and Burnley, and winning a decisive penalty against Aston Villa.

It should have been obvious already that Pogba is at his best when allowed to roam forward.

Going back to the start of the 2019/20 season away to Wolves, when he missed a penalty, it was his driving run which won the spot-kick in the first place.

AC Milan v Manchester United - UEFA Europa League Round Of 16 Leg Two
Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

On reflection it looks like United played Pogba in a deeper role last season perhaps out of a need to protect his fitness, and not push him to do too much.

With United’s defence much improved of late, United can afford to utilise Pogba further forward.

His match winning role in Milan makes it inescapable that this is his best position, and Solskjaer should continue to play him in this way.

Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know

More in News