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Manchester United’s Paul Pogba to prove he’s one of world’s best – Solskjaer – ESPN

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5:30 PM ET

  • Rob DawsonCorrespondent

Paul Pogba is ready to prove he is one of the best midfielders in the world, according to Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, after returning from injury in time for the Premier League’s restart.

Pogba is available for United’s first game after the resumption — against Tottenham on Friday night — after recovering from ankle surgery.

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The Frenchman last played a competitive game on Dec. 26 and Solskjaer insists he is fully focused on helping his team secure a place in next season’s Champions League.

“Paul has had his difficult season this year with loads of injuries but I can see his mentality and focus now that he is fit and training and available, that he is ready to play again and to prove,” Solskjaer told a news conference via Zoom on Thursday.

“He has always had quality, Paul. He is one of the best midfielders in the world so hopefully we can get that going as soon as possible.”

Pogba has managed just eight appearances in all competitions this season after undergoing ankle surgery in January, but his return is well-timed with United still chasing a place in the top four and silverware in the Europa League and FA Cup.

Solskjaer hinted that Pogba will have to be eased back in after his long lay-off, while the 27-year-old will also find plenty of competition for places after impressive performances from Bruno Fernandes, Nemanja Matic, Fred and Scott McTominay during an 11-game unbeaten run before the coronavirus outbreak.

“I want the same from Paul as from all the others,” said Solskjaer. “Paul is one of the best midfielders in the world so we expect him to gradually improve as he gets more and more game time.

“Gradually over these next few months we can work him up back to his best. Paul has had a very good career. He is a World Cup winner and we want to have that leadership on the pitch as well.

“I am very happy with the squad. The five of them [midfielders], any of them would be capable of playing a full season at Man United and being a regular so it’s given me not a problem but a nice challenge to choose and pick the right ones when they are in the right form when they are against the right opponents.

“Paul getting back fit can only help us because he does have qualities that no one else has.”

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