Saturday 24 March 2018

Wondering if Paul Pogba will make his second Manchester United debut on Friday? So is he

Paul Pogba has returned to Manchester United for a world-record fee having originally left the club four years ago
Paul Pogba has returned to Manchester United for a world-record fee having originally left the club four years ago

Tom Rooney

Manchester United entertain Southampton at Old Trafford on Friday night and, in the interim, anticipation as to whether or not world record signing Paul Pogba will feature is set to teeter on fever-pitch.

It’s been just over a week since Manchester United confirmed the acquisition of Pogba from Juventus for the unprecedented fee of €110m, bringing an end to one of the most protracted and exhausting transfer negotiations in history.

But, finally, United had captured their man. Or, more accurately, recaptured the languid Frenchman, having let him leave for Turin for roughly €850k four years ago.

In the meantime,  he helped Juve to four consecutive Serie A titles and a pair of Coppa Italias.

The 23-year-old was the fourth signing of Jose Mourinho’s nascent tenure, following the arrivals of Eric Bailly, Zlatan Ibrahimović and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

So far the trio have handsomely contributed to varying degrees, though strangely, Mkhitaryan started on the bench for the Community Shield win over Leicester and Sunday’s ultra-impressive victory at Bournemouth.

Pogba was unavailable for the trip to the Vitality Stadium due to a suspension originating from the end of his time in Italy, but now, in fine fettle, the world’s most expensive footballer is ready to make a second Manchester United debut.

Although he appears unsure if his new boss intends to select him for the Saints’ visit.

“You have to ask the manager but I feel very good and have been training for 10 days. I am okay,” Pogba said. (Quotes first published in Manchester Evening News).

Indeed, it’s proven an eventful few months for Pogba who, despite patchy personal performances, aided France in reaching the final of the recent Euros, before Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal prevailed in the showcase.

A Jaunt around the west coast of America, chronicled by frequent Twitter posts teasing his imminent arrival at Old Trafford, was enjoyed before putting pen to paper.

However, the dynamic youngster is adamant that he is unerringly focussed on the task at hand and raring to get down to the business of restoring United to her former stature.

“I am quite used to this. I played the World Cup two years ago when at Juve and three years ago I was at the Under 20s World Cup as well. So I am okay. It is about your body and I have been training on my holidays.”

“I am just happy to play football. I don't even think about it. It has happened, it is behind me I am just looking to win the league.

“My ambition is always be the number one and be the best. So the objective is to win the league. We want to go back to the Champions League because that is where we belong.”

Meanwhile, the club have confirmed that Jesse Lingard could feature on Friday after missing the Bournemouth win with a minor injury, while Chris Smalling is free to play after serving a suspension.

Online Editors

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