Solskjaer issues Pogba fitness update as Man Utd near Premier League return

Paul Pogba Manchester United 2020Getty

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Paul Pogba will miss his club’s friendly with Aston Villa on Saturday – but he is optimistic that the midfielder will return for the Premier League opener against Crystal Palace the following week.

Pogba is one of the players who has been troubled by Covid-19, having tested positive for the virus while he was with the France squad.

He was sent home by Didier Deschamps’ side in order to self-isolate. That prevented him from featuring in training, thereby losing sharpness and any prospect of turning out at Villa Park.

Speaking to MUTV, the Norwegian explained: “Paul’s had a couple of training sessions, so he’s lost out on a few sessions because of the virus, of course. But Paul is quick to get fit.... hopefully, he’ll be ready for next weekend. I am not 100 per cent sure, though.”

The World Cup winner is coming off a frustrating 2019-20 campaign, in which he was able to feature only 22 times in all competitions because of a couple of spells out with an ankle injury.

He played 16 Premier League matches, scoring a single goal, while two of his four assists came in a 4-0 win over Chelsea on the opening day of the season.

Other than the 27-year-old, United are hopeful of having a full squad for the Villa fixture.

Solskjaer has confirmed left-back Luke Shaw will be available for the clash.

“Luke is looking really good in training. He's come back looking strong and will play in the friendly against Villa,” he confirmed.

Meanwhile, Pogba is not the only member of the France squad to have suffered lately from Covid-19, with Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe having succumbed to the virus. Goalkeeper Steve Mandanda was the third member of the initial 23-man squad to be sent home after returning a positive test.

Additionally, the man who succeeded Pogba as the world’s most expensive footballer, Neymar, returned to training on Friday ahead of PSG’s fixture against Marseille on Sunday, having returned a negative test after contracting the virus.