Ole Gunnar Solskjaer plays down rumours of Paul Pogba row

By Jamie Gardner, PA Chief Sports Reporter

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has played down any suggestion of a disagreement over Paul Pogba’s recent ankle surgery.

The Norwegian said on New Year’s Day that Pogba’s “people” had advised that the player, who has only started in six matches in all competitions this season, required surgery.

Speculation continues to surround the 26-year-old Frenchman, who has been constantly linked with a move away from Old Trafford and whose agent, Mino Raiola, has been scathing about the club in comments made in the Italian media.

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Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has moved to further explain the decision for Paul Pogba to undergo ankle surgery (Martin Rickett/PA)
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has moved to further explain the decision for Paul Pogba to undergo ankle surgery (Martin Rickett/PA)

Solskjaer sought to set the record straight on Friday regarding the World Cup winner, who joined United for a then world record £89million fee in 2016.

“Paul came back after a long spell out, (featured in) a few games, had a reaction, and didn’t go to Burnley,” he said.

“He felt his ankle was sore, we did a scan. It’s not the same injury, it’s a different injury, of course when you get that scan you (as a player) consult your own medical people as well, like I did. He wanted a second opinion and the advice was to have it done.

“It’s not a major (injury) and probably, as I said, (he will be out) three or four weeks.”

When asked again about why he had suggested it was Pogba’s “people” behind the decision to undergo surgery, he added: “As in when you consult your surgeon and the ones you trust.

“That’s maybe my bad English – you have people you trust and you speak to. When I had my injuries, knee operations, I had my people in Norway and Sweden that I spoke to and Paul obviously has people as well that he trusts, and that’s important.”

Pogba featured as a second-half substitute in the matches against Watford and Newcastle over the Christmas period and had been expected to feature against Burnley before this latest setback.

Pogba has been strongly linked with a move away, with Real Madrid seemingly set to be his destination in the summer. His contract with United expires in the summer of 2021.

An injury to Scott McTominay on top of Pogba’s problem has magnified what some see as a lack of options in United’s midfield.

The Scot has suffered knee ligament damage, sidelining him for two months and placing extra pressure on Nemanja Matic and Fred in the centre of the pitch.

Nemanja Matic was at the heart of the Manchester United midfield away to Arsenal (John Walton/PA)
Nemanja Matic was at the heart of the Manchester United midfield away to Arsenal (John Walton/PA)

The FA Cup third-round clash at Wolves on Saturday comes too soon for Axel Tuanzebe, Eric Bailly and Timothy Fosu-Mensah, but Solskjaer said goalkeeper Sergio Romero would start.

Wolves were United’s conquerors at the quarter-final stage last season and Solskjaer predicts another tough assignment at Molineux.

“First you blame the FA for the hot and cold balls (in the draw)”, Solskjaer joked.

“We’ve had in succession Arsenal, Chelsea, Wolverhampton away and Wolverhampton away. Wolves are not going to make it easy for us.

“It’s my fourth time at Molineux and we haven’t won yet. Liverpool lost there last season, City have just lost there so we have got to earn the right to win there. We’ve got to perform and go there positive.”

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