Nemanja Matic will 'let Paul Pogba off the leash' says Man United and Ireland legend Denis Irwin
Former Manchester United defender Denis Irwin believes the arrival of Nemanja Matic from Chelsea can unleash Paul Pogba’s full potential.
Matic completed his £40 million move to United last week and Irwin believes this will see Jose Mourinho hand Pogba a more attacking role next season.
“He’s a signing designed to let Pogba off the leash a little bit," Irwin said.
Mourinho is likely to play Matic as part of a midfield three alongside Ander Herrera with Pogba spearheading the trio which will allow the Frenchman to be more influential when going forward.
“I was a little bit surprised by the fact Chelsea are selling to their rivals who will be challenging for the Premier League next year,” said the Irishman.
“Manchester United have got themselves a tremendous player, a tremendous holding player, and they’ve needed somebody of that ilk.”
Irwin, who made over 350 appearances for United, told talkSPORT he believes Mourinho has assembled a squad that can challenge for the title.
“There’s great competition in the squad now, there’s a good mixture of midfielders and attackers and I think that the club will be close to challenging this year.
“Since Jose has come to the club, the seven players they’ve signed a lot of them are tall, physical players – players you need for the Premier League. There’s a good mixture of youth and experience too.”
Mourinho has signed Pogba, Matic, Romelu Lukaku, Victor Lindelof, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Henrikh Mkhitryan and Eric Bailly in his year in charge at Old Trafford.
United’s improved fire-power is what could lead them to the Premier League title, according to Irwin who won seven titles with the Red Devils. “Lukaku is a 25 goals-a-season striker, I expect Marcus [Rashford] to get even better this year and I see Mkhitaryan improving a lot as well, so I expect to see more goals.”
Irwin also believes Luke Shaw has the potential to hold a place in the first team for years to come despite the 22 year-old appearing to have a fractious relationship with Mourinho.
“He’s absolutely good enough to be United’s long-term full back.
“I know Phil Neville has worked with him and he says he is certainly good enough. He’s got the talent.”
Independent News Service