EPL

Man Utd have 'open dialogue' with happy Pogba over future, says Solskjaer

By Sports Desk February 05, 2021

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes Paul Pogba is happy at Manchester United and said an "open dialogue" remained over a possible extension.

The France international's future has been a constant talking point amid links with Real Madrid and a possible return to Juventus.

Pogba, 27, is contracted at United until 2022, but his agent Mino Raiola said late last year the midfielder was unhappy at Old Trafford and had to leave.

United manager Solskjaer said Pogba was happy at United and suggested a fresh deal was possible.

"We've got a good open dialogue with Paul so what we talk about and how we see that situation remains between us," he told reporters.

"I'm just happy he's focused and playing really well. He's happy within himself and that's important. You can see Paul enjoying football himself with a red shirt on.

"Our conversations remain private, of course. But for example, Paul is a Manchester United player through and through. He's been here in two spells. He came as a kid, he's learnt about the history of the club, the passion of the club.

"He wants to do the best for United when he's here and I think we've seen that – that he really cares for his team and he's trying to be as successful as everyone else."

While some of Pogba's passing numbers are down, his possession won in final third (0.8 per 90 minutes) and interceptions (1.2) in the Premier League are at their highest since he returned to United in 2016.

Pogba also scored match-winners against Burnley and Fulham last month and Solskjaer praised the midfielder's recent performances.

"The answer is Paul has really knuckled down, he's worked hard, he's got his fitness," he said.

"I have said this many a time he had a bad season last season with injuries and he had COVID this season and an injury, but he really works hard and is playing in a team that plays well and he's a big inspiration for everyone."

United can move level on points with Premier League leaders and rivals Manchester City with a win over Everton on Saturday.

Related items

  • Kolasinac joins Marseille after Arsenal exit Kolasinac joins Marseille after Arsenal exit

    Sead Kolasinac has joined Marseille on a free transfer after the defender was released by Arsenal.

    The Bosnia and Herzegovina international left the Gunners on Tuesday, having reached an agreement to terminate his contract.

    Kolasinac had fallen out of favour at the Premier League club and returned to Schalke on loan last season.

    The 28-year-old is on the move again, joining Ligue 1 side Marseille on a deal until the end of the next campaign.

    Kolasinac made 118 appearances for Arsenal following his switch from Schalke in June 2017, but only played for Mikel Arteta's men five times this season.

    He becomes Marseille's second signing of the January transfer window following the arrival of striker Cedric Bakambu from Beijing Guoan.

  • Conte calls Tottenham-Arsenal postponement 'very strange' but Rodgers appreciates caution Conte calls Tottenham-Arsenal postponement 'very strange' but Rodgers appreciates caution

    Tottenham coach Antonio Conte believes the decision to postpone last weekend's scheduled north London derby was "very, very strange", but Leicester City counterpart Brendan Rodgers appreciates the Premier League's caution.

    Arsenal submitted their request to have the game called off due to a lack of first-team player availability.

    But critics accused the club of exploiting the Premier League's rules in order to get out of games while players were absent through injury, suspension or Africa Cup of Nations duty.

    Arsenal had only one confirmed positive COVID-19 case at the time of their application, but the Premier League deemed they were unable to meet the required number of available players (13 outfielders and a goalkeeper) despite their Under-23s managing to field a squad of 16 on Friday.

    Spurs released a statement criticising the decision, and Conte has since commented in public for the first time.

    "The club made a statement and it was very clear to show our disappointment," the Italian told reporters. "It was disappointing because we prepared the game to play against Arsenal and the decision to postpone the game was very, very strange.

    "My feeling is that when there is a situation to play we have to play, not to postpone games for injuries, for international duty.

    "I think we have a big problem to solve and that is COVID, but only about this situation can you decide to postpone, not for other situations.

    "Honestly, it's my first time in my life – and I've had a bit of experience in football – to see this type of decision."

    Frustrations relating to postponements had been building over the previous couple of weeks and they seemed to reach boiling point with the decision to call off the derby.

    Much of the discontent relates to certain clubs' apparent reluctance to use younger players from their second or academy teams.

    Leeds United were praised on Sunday for going ahead with their match away to West Ham and winning 3-2 despite seven of their nine substitutes having no prior Premier League experience at all – one of the two who had appeared in a top-flight game before had only a three-minute cameo to his name.

    Premier League rules state Under-21 players must be deemed "appropriately experienced" in order to count towards top-flight eligibility criteria for postponement purposes, and Rodgers – whose Leicester face Spurs on Wednesday – feels this is the fairest approach for the mental well-being of youngsters.

    "It depends on how you frame it," Rodgers responded when asked about the apparent under-utilisation of young players.

    "We have young players coming in now like [Kiernan] Dewsbury-Hall, and his timeline is that he went out on loan.

    "You have to be careful. Not every Under-23 player is ready for Premier League football and you don't want to destroy a career. Development is different for players. We will look to play young players at the right time, we have been able to do that in the FA Cup.

    "The rules are clear. For the Premier League, you have to have 13 plus a goalkeeper, so there is enough clarity. It doesn't say the guys out have to be out with COVID. The rules are there and clear.

    "We are clear on where we are now. We were shown in a managers' meeting that it will hit different areas at different times, and different parts of the country will be hit.

    "Lots of players are injured because they are having to play more. The Premier League have tried to be as fair as they can, and then there's Under-23s if they are experienced enough.

    "We played the FA Cup game, but then we couldn't play the next game because we didn't have the players.

    "Everyone has an opinion, but unless you're inside a club and are privy to the injuries and COVID cases, then it's probably difficult to say [games shouldn't be postponed]. All the clubs are working to get the games on."

  • Proteas paceman Rabada rested for India ODI series Proteas paceman Rabada rested for India ODI series

    South Africa will have to do without Kagiso Rabada when they face India in a three-match ODI series.

    Rabada was released from the squad on the eve of Wednesday's first game at Boland Park, afforded a rest ahead of the Tests against New Zealand next month.

    The selectors did not call up a replacement for the paceman, who helped the Proteas come from behind to consign India to a 2-1 defeat in the recent Test series.

    Spinner George Linde has been retained from the Test squad and the left-armer will be hoping to add to his tally of two ODI appearances.

    South Africa have not won an ODI series since a whitewash of Australia in March 2020, and their most recent series against the Netherlands was postponed due to concerns over the Omicron coronavirus variant.

    Virat Kohli is set to play in his first match since stepping down as India's Test captain.

    With Rohit Sharma out of the tour due to a hamstring injury, KL Rahul leads the side and will open as the tourists strive to put behind them the disappointment of failing to win a first Test series in South Africa.

    India have won the last two ODI series they have contested, beating both England and Sri Lanka by a 2-1 margin. The tourists have added Jayant Yadav and Navdeep Saini to their squad, with Washington Sundar missing out after testing positive for COVID-19.

    South Africa were hammered 5-1 when they last faced India in an ODI series on home soil four years ago, Kohli claiming the man of the series award.

    There will be no World Cup Super League points to play for in this series, but South Africa must build some momentum as they are currently outside the automatic qualification spots for the showpiece in India next year.

    Kohli overdue a century

    Kohli brought a halt to his long reign as Test skipper a day after South Africa were beaten by seven wickets in the third and final Test at Newlands.

    The 33-year-old had relinquished the Twenty20 captaincy following the World Cup late last year and was then replaced by Rohit as ODI skipper.

    Kohli had to contend with further questions about his lack of runs ahead of that decisive match in Cape Town and you have to go back to November 2019 for his last international century, that coming against Bangladesh in the longest format.

    He has not reached three figures in an ODI since a game against West Indies in August 2019, but averages 59.07 in this format and could thrive without leadership duties.

    South Africa have unearthed a gem in Jansen

    Marco Jansen was magnificent in his first Test series, the all-rounder taking 19 wickets at an average of 16.47 as he caused the India batters all sorts of problems.

    South Africa have unearthed another gem in the form of the towering 21-year-old, who has a very big future ahead of him and can make a big impact in his first taste of ODI cricket.

    Quinton de Kock brought his Test career to an end after a defeat to India in the first Test at SuperSport Park but can still have a big role to play in the shorter formats.

    Skipper Temba Bavuma impressed with the bat in the Test series and South Africa will look to him to make some significant contributions as they battle to inflict another defeat on India.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.