X

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer: Paul Pogba Is the 'Best All-Round Midfielder in the World'

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistDecember 24, 2019

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 25:  Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the head coach / manager of Manchester United speaks to Paul Pogba of Manchester United before the penalty shoot out during the Carabao Cup Third Round match between Manchester United and Rochdale AFC at Old Trafford on September 25, 2019 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images)
Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has labelled Paul Pogba "the best all-round midfielder in the world" following the Frenchman's return from almost three months on the sidelines. 

Pogba, 26, came on as a second-half substitute when United lost 2-0 at Watford on Sunday, which ended the club's six-match unbeaten streak and left them eighth in the Premier League. 

Solskjaer spoke at a press conference on Tuesday and hailed Pogba's influence in all areas of the pitch, via Hayters TV:

Hayters TV @HaytersTV

' @paulpogba is the best midfielder in the world' - Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is over the moon having the 🇫🇷 international ready for Boxing Day. https://t.co/MOLkHn1DEf

The £89 million club-record signing has made only seven appearances this season following his ankle problems, but that doesn't appear to have affected Solskjaer's opinion of the player. He said:

"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."

The Norwegian added Pogba "did really well" after he entered the fray against Watford in the 64th minute, though the 2018 FIFA World Cup winner failed to pull his side back from two goals down.

Pogba—who often shines for France—rejoined the Red Devils from Juventus in 2016, when Jose Mourinho was still at the helm, but his return hasn't brought about the transformative effect United would have hoped for.

He helped the team win a UEFA Europa League and Carabao Cup double in 2017, while last season saw him score a career-high 16 goals—his previous best in a single campaign was 10.

However, Pogba's commitment to the United cause has been questioned in recent times, particularly after the player said in June that he felt it was time to explore "a new challenge," via BBC Radio Manchester:

BBC RM Sport @BBCRMsport

"It could be a good time for a new challenge" Paul Pogba admits that he's thinking about moving away from Old Trafford this summer. But #MUFC bosses say they expect him to stay 🤷‍♂️ https://t.co/YwEedV1n85

The Mirror's David McDonnell wrote earlier in December that some of United's hierarchy were concerned Pogba may have played his last game for the club amid rumours of a January move to Real Madrid.

BBC 5 Live Sport recently discussed Pogba's ability to unlock defences as something of a unique talent among United's players, though that wasn't apparent against Watford:

BBC 5 Live Sport @5liveSport

"Adding the Pogba dynamic solves the problem of breaking down teams when you dominate possession" 🗣 The #MNC talk Paul Pogba's return to #MUFC and the difference he made in midfield ⚽️ #MUFC fans, are you happy to see him back? 👇 🎧📲 https://t.co/vDC39Oobb3 #bbcfootball https://t.co/ADCQdlQZsC

United have the lowest points tally they've posted at Christmas in the Premier League era (25) and are at risk of finishing 2019 in the bottom half of the table.

Pogba could make his first start since September 30 if he's deemed fit to make a full return, and Solskjaer seems to remain among the player's biggest admirers.