Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has declared Paul Pogba the “best all-round midfielder in the world” as he returns from injury.
Pogba made his first appearance since September on the weekend, taking to the field in the 64th minute of their 2-0 loss to Watford.
Pogba has been struggling with ankle injuries and illness for months, but could make his first start against Newcastle on Friday morning AEDT.
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Solskjaer said “Let’s see how he reacts, how he feels. He did really well when he came on, a big plus.
“It might be that we do get him in from the start because you just want to get more and more into the team when he plays.
“He can play anywhere, he can play the whole midfield, he is a box-to-box midfielder. He can drop deep, get it and play them long passes. He can get higher up and combine like he did on Sunday.
“It depends on the game. That’s the beauty of having Paul because he is the best all-round midfielder in the world, he can do all the roles. It’s great to have him back.”
Pogba has been linked to Real Madrid for some time, and talks of a January bid have increased in recent weeks. But Solskjaer is keen to keep the French star at Old Trafford, as he tries to turn around his struggling side’s fortunes.
United lie in eighth, only notching 25 points by Christmas – their lowest ever return at this stage of a Premier League campaign.
But Solskjaer says his team can emulate their fierce rivals Liverpool and develop into a dominant force.
He said: “We want to be a team that can go and dominate teams and break teams down. It’s taken Liverpool a few years to get to that stage and we need to just keep on building because that’s what we want to get to.
“Yes, we’re good at counterattacking. Yes, we’ve got pace and fast players. We should always keep that because it’s in our tradition.
“We create loads of chances, but every time we lose it there’s a counter-attack. We need to lock it down more, better at stopping the counter-attack.
“That’s where this team is going to learn and grow and I’m sure we’ll see an improvement over this season and the next year.”