Ralf Rangnick has revealed that Man Utd midfielder Paul Pogba could start their FA Cup clash with Middlesbrough on Friday.
The 28-year-old played in a 2-2 Champions League draw at Atalanta in early November before pulling up during training on France international duty.
Former manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer hoped Pogba would be back “just after Christmas” while his successor Rangnick said on December 10 that he was four weeks away from a return to action.
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However, an injury setback at the beginning of January led Rangnick to predict a February return date, which now looks to be spot on.
When asked injury updates and news on Pogba, the Man Utd boss told reporters: “Yes, Paul [Pogba] will be part of the group he might even be in the starting XI, Edi Cavani will only return at the weekend, he contacted me at the weekend and asked to have two more days at home, I knew he couldn’t be in starting XI with jet lag.
“Victor Lindelof has been ill the whole week and not training, the same is true with Jesse if we could give him a couple of days off to clear his mind. He will be back in training on Monday and part of the whole squad.
“Eric Bailly came back yesterday, he has some problems with his ankle and will not be part of the squad. Luke [Shaw] will be playing because Alex Telles played 90 minutes for Brazil.”
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Rangnick has played Diogo Dalot, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Luke Shaw and Alex Telles in the two full-back positions since his arrival at the club at the end of November.
When asked what he wants from his full-backs, Rangnick replied: “They have to be both. They have to be defenders and at the same time give as much input as they possibly can when we’re in possession of the ball. They should be offensive full-backs, offensive defenders and I think in the last couple of weeks we have improved in those areas.
“It will also be an important position for tomorrow’s game because Middlesbrough will play with a back five with very offensive wing-backs. It will be very important to play tactically to a high level. With regard to our own full-backs, as I said, I’m happy with the development that all those players have taken.
“This is what I want to see, offensive full-backs playing almost like wingers do and at the same be modern defenders winning one-on-one duels and switching sides from one side to another when we have to mark through.”