Manchester United may have finally found Paul Pogba’s best position. The France international has struggled for consistency at Old Trafford but, since Ole Gunnar Solskjaer moved him to the left wing, has started to come good. And with that also being the area where Marcus Rashford plays, it may be time for the Red Devils to tweak the 23-year-old’s position.
When United signed Pogba in the summer transfer window of 2016, they were convinced they’d signed a player capable of running their midfield for many years to come.
Jose Mourinho believed the France international could be his Claude Makelele at Old Trafford but with a twist: style and substance, instead of merely the latter.
That, unfortunately for United, didn’t happen under Mourinho.
And Solskjaer has struggled to get Pogba fully firing, too, especially with the club well-stocked when it comes to midfield options.
Pogba isn’t a retriever like Fred, nor an enforcer like McTominay.
Instead, he’s a creative midfielder who has previously been asked to do jobs and duties he’s not suited to. Going forward, instead of running back, is his biggest strength.
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United do finally appear to have cracked the code when it comes to the 27-year-old, however, with Pogba immense in Sunday’s 3-1 victory over Tottenham in north London.
Perhaps the sight of Mourinho fired him up. But the 2018 World Cup winner was one of the standout players on the pitch as United left the capital with all three points to their name.
Before the game, he’d been up until midnight playing Call of Duty: Warzone.
He wasn’t happy with his performance there, either, claiming his rivals were making him look ‘f****** s****.’
But Pogba took the fight to Tottenham on Sunday, causing Spurs all sorts of problems after being deployed on the wing. He certainly wasn’t as f****** s***** as he was in the video game.
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His best performances have come on the flanks. Sure, he can play in midfield. But Pogba is far better-suited to a wider role, one that allows him to roam about and make things happen.
He managed 76 touches throughout the showdown, making 38 passes in the process.
He also won 12 duels, six out of eight take-ons and four out of five aerial duels during the contest as United took all three points.
This was more like it. Pogba looked like he was worth £89million with his performance, with Tottenham right-back Serge Aurier given the runaround on a chastening afternoon.
And, now, United have some tweaking to do behind the scenes.
It may be time to change Rashford’s position again. To make the England international the No 9 Louis van Gaal thought he would be upon unleashing him for the first time in 2016.
Rashford, like Pogba, has flourished on the left wing.
Yet with Edinson Cavani looking likely to leave, and Anthony Martial misfiring this term, the England international would definitely be a good option in the No 9 role.
When Rashford burst on the scene five years ago, he took to that position like a duck to water.
And he was also impressive there during the early days of Solskjaer’s reign, with Jesse Lingard and Martial either side of him in attack.
United are understood to crave the arrival of Erling Haaland, while Tottenham striker Harry Kane is another player in their sights ahead of the summer transfer window.
But Rashford becoming a striker could save them millions on transfer fees.
And it would allow Pogba to continue on the left wing, making him happy and boosting the Red Devils’ chances of tying him down to a new contract in the process.
United would be onto a double winner then.
And with Pogba in this form, anything is possible when it comes to their future hopes of winning the Premier League title.