Paul Pogba insists Zlatan Ibrahimovic can still play an important role for Manchester United this season

by Leo Nieboer

Paul Pogba has backed Zlatan Ibrahimovic to make an impact for Manchester United towards the latter stages of the season.

The Swede made a miraculous early return from cruciate ligament damage in a November but only made two starts before ending up on the treatment table ahead of the new year.

Jose Mourinho initially noted that Zlatan would be out for a month but the 36-year-old, who has been linked with LA Galaxy, only returned to training with the first team 11 days ago.

And Pogba, speaking at the opening of a Padel centre in Stockholm, made it clear that Zlatan would play an important role for Man United this season.

“He’s fit, you all know he’s a hard worker,” he said.

“You see his body, you see how he came back from a big injury, we saw him on the pitch and he looks very sharp. We hope for him to play his game very soon. With his quality he can help the team a lot.”

There were always questions over just how Mourinho would reconcile the presence of Zlatan with the arrival of Romelu Lukaku and the changes to United’s style which would follow, but with just over two months until the season ends the boss has really needed to. Zlatan, try as he might, has not really ever felt part of the mould this time around.

And that, if anything, will only add greater incentive to these closing stages for the Swede. His body, remarkable as it is, may just be catching up with him after such a prestigious and long career, but that sheer prowess, that remarkable footballing intelligence honed at the highest level for nearly 18 years, can still have a decisive impact on the crucial closing stages of the campaign.

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