Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has hinted that Paul Pogba will start tonight’s crucial comeback Premier League tie against Tottenham.
Reports earlier in the week, notably that from The Athletic’s Laurie Whitwell, claimed that Pogba was unlikely to be on the field at kickoff and would be more likely to feature from the bench.
However, speaking at yesterday’s press conference, the boss spoke of seeing Pogba for 45 to 60 minutes, suggesting that he will start the game.
‘I don’t know if it’s 45 minutes this time, is it 60, so gradually, over the next few months, we can work him up back to his best, because Paul has had a very, very good career,’ Solskjaer said.
‘Of course, he is a World Cup winner and we want to have that leadership on the pitch as well.
‘I want the same from Paul as from all the others, that we give our best and Paul is one of the best midfielders in the world. So of course we expect him to gradually improve as he gets more and more game time.’
If Pogba does start the game alongside Bruno Fernandes in midfield and Rashford and Martial start up top, the question is who will occupy the other midfield berth(s) and what formation will be played.
A 4-3-3 with Dan James or Mason Greenwood on the right would be the most attacking option, with either Nemanja Matic or Fred holding behind the playmakers.
3-5-2 is also possible, with wing backs providing the width and an extra centre back to bolster the defence. This would be more likely to see Fred occupying the third midfield slot than Matic due to his superior mobility.
The boss could also opt for a 4-1-1-2-2 with Matic behind Fred, who in turn would sit behind Pogba and Fernandes, but this formation would offer little in terms of width.
Scott McTominay is also a midfield option to consider.
Solskjaer admitted in yesterday’s conference that finding the right formation and selection will be difficult.
‘I think it’s given me, not a problem, but a nice challenge to choose and pick the right ones when they’re in the right form against the right opponents.
‘As you said, Nemanja, Scott, Fred, they’ve had a fantastic turnaround, all of them, they’ve had a good season.
‘Bruno came in with a great impact and Paul getting back fit can only help us, because he does have qualities that no-one else has.’
Rash is back! As United prepare to restart their season and do battle on three fronts, top scorer Marcus Rashford is fit and back to take his place in the side. But how much do you know about the United star? Take our quiz below to test yourself.