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'He can be a bigger star' - Valencia wants more from Man Utd talisman Pogba

08:04 EAT 26/11/2019
Paul Pogba Manchester United 2019-20
The ex-Red Devil thinks the club is not seeing the true potential of its dynamic midfielder

Paul Pogba could be a 'bigger star' at Manchester United and it's important he gets 'love' from his manager, according to Antonio Valencia.

The star French midfielder has never looked settled at Old Trafford since re-joining the club from Juventus in 2016 - despite easily being their best performer in that time.

Pogba has struggled with ankle problems since early September, making only two appearances since first suffering the fitness issue.

With Pogba falling out with Jose Mourinho during the final part of the Portuguese manager's tenure at the Theatre of Dreams, Valencia hinted the tension may have hindered the 26-year-old's form but also suggested the Man Utd academy product could be an even better player.

"Paul is intelligent, a leader, a great player with talent but someone who needs the feeling and connection of a team. He is a star… but he can be a bigger star," Valencia told The Athletic.

"Paul needs the definitive love of a manager. There are players who have a lot of talent but need to feel important and to have the manager by their side. I think (Ole Gunnar) Solskjaer restored that to him."

Valencia made 339 appearances for United across 10 seasons - winning two Premier League titles, an FA Cup, two Carabao Cups and a Europa League - before leaving the club at the end of the last campaign.

Having been part of the fabric at Old Trafford for such a long time, the 34-year-old admitted to seeing things evolve at the club since Sir Alex Ferguson left in 2013.

But he was impressed with a few of the talents at the club, naming Scott McTominay, Dan James, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial as shining lights of Solskjaer's regime.

"[The club] has changed a little," Valencia said. "I see some positives now.

"I like Scott McTominay, he reminds me of Darren Fletcher. Scott is tough.

"Dan James, I love watching him. Rashford too. Martial could be amazing.”

The Red Devils, who have already qualified out of their Europa League group, face a long trip to Kazakhstan to face Astana on Thursday, before returning to Manchester for a home clash against Aston Villa on Sunday.