Tue. Dec 1st, 2020

Man Utd


Manchester United have four positions for Paul Pogba to play in

4 min read

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has suggested Paul Pogba will never have a fixed role in the Manchester United side due to his versatility.

Solskjaer used Pogba on the left of a midfield three when he took over as caretaker in December 2018 and the Frenchman embarked on a phenomenal run of nine goals in 12 games.

However, Solskjaer moved Pogba to a deeper role in a 4-2-3-1 at the start of last season and Pogba returned to the left side of a midfield axis after he recovered from ankle surgery in June behind Bruno Fernandes.

Jose Mourinho unsuccessfully trialled Pogba as a No.10 against Liverpool and Chelsea in October 2016 and Solskjaer used Pogba on the left of a midfield diamond with mixed results against RB Leipzig and Arsenal this season.

Pogba started in all three of France’s internationals this month and played in a midfield three in the Nations League win over Portugal and in a two in the midweek victory against Sweden.

“There’s always discussions about players who can play in different positions because they have the quality to do so many things and they can play in different positions,” Solskjaer explained. “The same goes with Scott: what’s his best position? Scotland play him as a centre-back, I play him as one of two defensive midfielders.

“Bruno can play lots of positions, Marcus: is he best on the left or through the middle? Same with Anthony. Paul is the same: he can do the role and he has the qualities to do many things, it’s about the balance of the team, that’s on the XI you pick that day; that’s the key.

“Sometimes it’s an 8, sometimes a 10, sometimes in off the left in a diamond, sometimes one of the two, he can do everything. And now, the fitter he gets the more he can do.”

France coach Didier Deschamps said Pogba ‘is in a situation with his club where he cannot be happy’ and there is a growing sense this could be the Frenchman’s last season with United.

Pogba admitted retreating to the France set-up was ‘like a breath of fresh air’, having last month reiterated his desire to join Real Madrid, but Solskjaer downplayed his and Deschamps’s comments.

“We always get questions and we try to answer as well as we can,” Solskjaer said. “I think the press sometimes makes more of it and people maybe at home not having the whole interview make more of it.

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United get their Premier League campaign back underway on Saturday when they welcome strugglers West Brom to Old Trafford.

The under-pressure Reds came from behind to beat Everton last time out thanks to Bruno Fernandes’ double and Edinson Cavani’s first goal for United.

The players are returning from the two-week international break, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be hoping to have as few injury and fitness concerns as possible among the stars coming back from international duty.

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“We’re all experienced enough to try to avoid big, massive headlines. I spoke to Paul today about it. Of course he’s not been happy when he’s not playing, and not playing really well. He’s not been happy with his performances.

“He plays in the same position for France as he does for us, so that’s not a different scenario. It’s about getting momentum and rhythm and, as I said earlier, he felt really strong towards the end against Portugal and towards the end of the game with Sweden, which is natural because he had COVID and he needed time.

“That’s the same with all of our players: they look stronger and fitter and he’s the same. With the comments… I remember myself when I played for Norway and saw my mates that I had grown up with, of course it’s nice to meet them. Social life now is not the same, so you’re happy to see them.”

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