The dilemma of Paul Pogba has continued at Manchester United after coach Ole Gunnar Solksjaer didn’t name him in the match squad that played against West Brom last weekend, just a few days after being praised by France coach, Didier Deschamps.
The saga surrounding the Frenchman at the club seems to have taken a twist in recent weeks, breaking new ground as a club versus country debate. Added to this is his inconsistent form and a possible transfer to Real Madrid.
According to an injury update from United, Pogba was absent from their matchday squad after he had picked up a “knock” in his third appearance for France inside a week, against Sweden.
France coach, Didier Deschamps had risen to the defense of Pogba, saying he always want to play and he is a hardworking midfielder. The last time Pogba featured for 90 minutes for the team was against Arsenal. He caused the penalty that became the difference in the game.
However, United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remained fairly tight-lipped on the situation. Having railed against this season’s fixture schedule before the international break, the tactician vented his fury after United’s 3-1 win over Everton.
However, Pogba looks and sounds happier when he is with France these days. It is hoped that this won’t become another Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku issue. United had claimed they were injured, both the return to action a few weeks after signing for Inter Milan.
Due to his inconsistent form, it’s hard to know where United stands with regards to the midfielder’s immediate future. United might want to quickly cash in on him by selling him off in 2021, as his current deal expires in 2022. But that is still months away unless a surprise January deal can be struck.
United are left with no other option than to handle Pogba the best they can until the summer.
Pogba happy to be with the France squad than united
Pogba was vocal during the international break, saying he is happy to be in the squad, which is a stark contrast to what he sees at Old Trafford.
“This is a period, the kind of which I have never experienced in my career. We are very happy to come here and all very happy to see each other again. It is not the same as with the club… We all group together, it is magical. We realise that everyone is happy to come and that makes a difference,” Pogba said while on French duty.
This could be related to his viewpoint and being excluded from the squad for two straight games shows this. Such sentiment was shared by United legend, Rio Ferdinand.
“I understand what he’s saying. You don’t want to hear it as a Manchester United fan, first and foremost, but we’ve been there, we know that when you’re in bad form as an individual, or collective as a team, going away with your national side is very much a breath of fresh air.
“It means you can take your mind off that pressure, get out of that pressure, go into international football and get a bit of confidence back.
“I think that’s what Paul’s done with two good games. He’ll be in a different frame of mind after that,” Ferdinand said.
With such a statement from Pogba and the support of his national team coach, will Solksjaer still give Pogba the minute to prove that he has his confidence back?
What Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can do to get the best out of Pogba at Manchester United
One thing of note here is that Pogba’s unhappy situation at United is no fault of anyone but himself. He has constantly been backed by the club and Solskjaer ever since they broke the bank to ensure he returned to the club in 2016.
He had a fall-out with Jose Mourinho in 2018, and United still offered their support and conditions he should need to shine. Pogba ought to have given them more in return.
Despite all these efforts, what United and Solksjaer have been getting in return are PR-heavy transfer announcement. It might be that United fans have fed up with him. But that’s not good for Solskjaer, who would prefer having his star player grinding out results with him weekly.
All he needs to do is to look at the team’s tactics that will benefit everyone at the club over the coming weeks and months.
Pogba is known for his creativity and physical build that helps break down attacks. He would have been quite handy for West Brom by helping Solskjaer’s men break down a solid defence as well, but it seems his eagerness to play for France was to United’s detriment.
Having played in seven Premier League games this season, Pogba also appeared in all three of Man Utd’s Champions League games.
Solksjaer in his post-match interview has said provided Pogba is fit, he will play on Tuesday. Let’s hope he won’t miss three straight games to avoid further talks on his input to the club.