This might be a good moment for Paul Pogba to finally make his Manchester United return.
We are waiting to see if the Frenchman will be available for the first team this weekend after two full months on the sidelines with an ankle injury.
The City game has been billed as a projected comeback date for Pogba. The MEN recently claimed Pogba has a chance of returning for Saturday’s match at The Etihad.
The stadium was the scene of one of Pogba’s finest performances for United. His two second half goals in 2018 inspired a remarkable 3-2 comeback.
That is the Pogba we want to see back starring for United. But he has to be fully fit.
Ahead of the Tottenham game, Solskjaer said: “He’s still a bit away but he’s working hard so let’s see. He’s out on the grass, so let’s see how long it will take.” [Teamtalk]
There’s certainly a chance he is involved, and if he is available, there are two realistic options available for United this weekend.
The first, and most probable, is that United will not rush the Frenchman.
The most he may be able to hope for is a place on the substitute’s bench.
This makes sense, for United to ease him in slowly, and keep the same team which beat Tottenham. Pogba could also have a rousing effect on the side as an impact substitute.
The second option is for United to play him in an attacking role.
A role behind the striker is where Pogba may fit best at United right now. Fred and Scott McTominay are forming a good partnership and deserve to keep their places.
They are doing the hard graft which will allow Pogba to attack and cause problems for defences.
He should be an upgrade there over Jesse Lingard, even though the Englishman is now finding a bit of form. He was good on Wednesday night.
This may be immaterial against City if Pogba is not passed fit, but these choices will be the ones open to Solskjaer whenever he is finally available.
Returning at this moment while United are on a high is a good opportunity for Pogba. The pressure is off and this should make it easier for him.
A fully fit, motivated Pogba can be big asset for United. Getting to that stage has so far been a big challenge.
Do United need him?
In a one off game, United can get by without Pogba. This was shown on Wednesday.
Yet it could have been a lot easier if Pogba was pulling the strings in Lingard’s role. Over the course of he season his absence has been sorely felt.
There are always questions over Pogba’s attitude. Some fair, some unfair. But he needs to buy into what Solskjaer is doing, and forget trying to force a move to Madrid.
If he is looking towards the exit, then bringing him into the team could unbalance the squad, at a crucial moment when the players are on a high.
Only Solskjaer can assess whether Pogba is up for the challenge. He should be, United are paying his wages and he has been missed over the course of the season.
United showed what the team is capable of against Mourinho’s Tottenham this week. It was an excellent team performance, and Pogba should want to be part of that.
Pogba can take United to the next level. He can help turn these draws into wins, and make the victories more comfortable, like when Solskjaer first took over.
His comeback is getting closer, and if it is this weekend, the timing could be perfect.
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