Paul Pogba 'Unlikely' to Start for Manchester United Against Tottenham

Manchester United are preparing to keep midfielder Paul Pogba on the sidelines when they return to competitive action against Tottenham on Friday.

The Frenchman has not been seen since Boxing Day, when he picked up an ankle injury similar to the one which had already forced him to miss 12 games.

Pogba is now thought to be closing in on full fitness and has been training well, but The Athletic note that United are working on a starting lineup that does not include Pogba, likely to ensure he remains fit for the hectic end to the campaign.

The 27-year-old has featured heavily during United's friendlies in preparation for their return, lining up alongside new recruit Bruno Fernandes in a 2-1 defeat to West Bromwich Albion.

United were on an 11-game unbeaten run before the coronavirus outbreak paralysed football, so Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will likely be eager to give his players the chance to continue their good form, rather than throw Pogba back into the mix immediately.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will have to find a way to play both Pogba & Bruno Fernandes

When Pogba does return to the team, Solskjaer will have to find a way to field him alongside Fernandes. Some fans are concerned that the players are too similar and could get in each other's way, while others believe there is no problem whatsoever.

The Athletic note that some United insiders want to see Pogba deployed in an attacking midfield role - to get the best out of both his creativity and his physicality - but the problem is that position is the one in which Fernandes has shone since in January move.

Fernandes managed 3 goals & 4 assists before football was postponed

The idea of fielding Fernandes in a deeper role has been discussed, while there have even been calls to shift the Portugal international out to the right wing to become an inverted winger like Juan Mata.

Playing Pogba ahead of Fernandes is something which has already been explored behind the scenes, but it appears that Tottenham will be spared the prospect of the duo starting together on Friday.

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Source : 90min