Football

Paul Pogba set for No. 10 role at Manchester United?

The Sun claims Fernandes will sit deeper as Solskjaer decides how to accommodate the pair

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could accommodate his two most creative talents in Bruno Fernandes and Paul Pogba by playing the latter as a No. 10, with the Portuguese sitting deeper in midfield, according to The Sun.

The pair have not yet played together, with Pogba not featuring since last December due to an ankle injury and Fernandes arriving only in January.

With the French World Cup winner missing all but eight of United's matches this season, the Red Devils struggled for creativity, until the arrival of Fernandes from Sporting Lisbon for £47 million (S$82.6m).

The 25-year-old hit the ground running at Old Trafford, scoring three goals, creating four assists and winning the English Premier League Player of the Month for February.

Fernandes has yet to lose a game since arriving in Manchester as United went on an 11-match unbeaten run in all competitions, before the Covid-19 pandemic brought the EPL to a halt.

With the league set to resume next Thursday morning (Singapore time) and Pogba fit after his ankle problems, Solskjaer has been presented with a conundrum on how to accommodate his two most creative midfielders.

The Sun reported that Pogba, 27, played in an advanced midfield role during an intra-squad friendly and suggested that is where Solskjaer intends to use him, with Fernandes playing deeper than he has since his arrival, in the No. 8 role.

With United resuming their season on June 20 morning (Singapore time) against Tottenham Hotspur, it has led to a debate on how Pogba and Fernandes can co-exist.

Former Liverpool striker Michael Owen believes United should ditch Pogba at the end of the season for a player who is more compatible with Fernandes, Aston Villa's Jack Grealish.

His former Reds teammate Danny Murphy, meanwhile, believes playing Pogba and Fernandes together in big games will be detrimental to United's balance defensively.

Ex-Spurs midfielder Jermaine Jenas agreed, writing in his Daily Express column: "Will Pogba come in and say, 'Hang on, I am the creative element. Me and Fernandes?'

"Then you can get unbalanced defensively, and they could be getting in each other's way. It could create problems where you didn't have any... Solskjaer would be stupid to ignore what Fred, (Scott) McTominay and (Nemanja) Matic have done for him this year."

Former Spurs manager Tim Sherwood, however, believes the answer lies in McTominay.

He told Premier League Productions: "I think the answer to those two playing together is McTominay… very, very good player, a good team player, knows when to sit, knows what holes to fill up to cover these two."

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