'Pogba needs love' - Valencia calls on Man Utd to show midfielder more 'affection'

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Paul Pogba Manchester United 2019-20
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A former Old Trafford favourite thinks that the Frenchman will "shine" again if nurtured in the right way, amid continued speculation over his future

Paul Pogba is a "star" and needs "love" in order to rediscover his best form at Manchester United, according to Antonio Valencia.

World Cup winner Pogba has missed United's last 14 matches across all competitions through injury, having dealt with a persistent ankle issue since the start of the 2019-20 campaign.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer expects the France international to return to action at some point this month, but in his absence, the Red Devils have started to climb the Premier League table.

An excellent win at home to Jose Mourinho's Tottenham last week was followed up by a thrilling 2-1 derby victory over Manchester City at Etihad Stadium on Saturday, with United now only five points off the Champions League places.

Pogba had not found the net in five Premier League outings before being ruled out of action amid concerns over his attitude and commitment to the team's cause.

The 26-year-old has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid in recent months, with former employers Juventus also thought to be monitoring his situation.

Despite the rumours surrounding Pogba's position at the Theatre of Dreams, Valencia thinks that his old team-mate just needs to be shown some extra "affection" to get back to his best and help drive United forward next year.

“Pogba is a star. Do you know what he needs? Love,” the ex-United full-back told Mundo Deportivo. "I have heard many rumours about [Zinedine] Zidane and Real Madrid, but he never said anything.

“He is a clever person. If in the United we give this affection, Pogba will shine.”

Paul Pogba Manchester United 2019-20

Valencia went on to praise David de Gea and Marcus Rashford for their recent performances, with it his belief that the Red Devils will continue to improve after a slow start to the season.

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“It’s difficult to manage such a unique case,” he added. "I see United getting better and better, Rashford is going through a great time.

“They are a solid team behind (in defence), with confidence and a star in De Gea.”

United are back in Europa League action on Thursday when they play host to AZ Alkmaar, three days before Everton arrive at Old Trafford for a crucial Premier League showdown.

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