Paul Pogba has been at his “brilliant” best over recent weeks and shown that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can “trust” him to operate alongside Bruno Fernandes in the middle of the park, says Rio Ferdinand.
The Red Devils have been reluctant to pair two proven playmakers in their engine room. With Portugal international Fernandes becoming a talismanic figure across his 12 months at Old Trafford, World Cup winner Pogba has been the man to make way.
He has spent time on the bench and operating in a wide attacking berth, with the 27-year-old’s versatility being put to good use. It has, however, been argued throughout the Frenchman’s second spell in England that he is at his best when used in a creative No 10 role.
Solskjaer has moved Pogba more centrally at times as United have made their way to the top of the Premier League table, and match-winning performances have been put in against Burnley and Fulham.
The most recent of those saw a stunning strike secure a 2-1 victory at Craven Cottage, with Ferdinand saluting the efforts of a rejuvenated star as he begins to shine once more.
The former Red Devils defender told BT Sport: “I think he [Pogba] was brilliant, he did both sides well, defended well but created chances. The big difference is that he is playing quick, not dilly dallying on ball, the efficiency he is playing with is amazing.
“I don't think Ole completely trusts him in the centre of midfield with the pace that some sides counter with, so he plays him out of those areas, but in this game they felt they would dominate and so he can allow him to do it. One of the best when he is in this form.
“He loves the game, [he] wants to showcase his talent. I saw Pogba grow up, I saw his talent first-hand, I think he is capable of playing in the midfield [alongside Fernandes]. If he has the players around him he can do it.”
Ferdinand added on a divisive figure who has faced questions of his form, fitness and future across four-and-a-half years at Old Trafford: “He has not been as consistent as he would have liked [since signing in 2016], but right now he is one of the more important players.
“Top players use negative press as fuel, but the passion cannot be used if you are not playing, he is now.”
United will be looking to Pogba for inspiration once again on Sunday when, a week after taking in a 0-0 draw at Anfield in the Premier League, the Red Devils play host to arch-rivals Liverpool in the fourth round of the FA Cup.