Paul Pogba could be out for three months with a thigh injury, according to Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
United sit sixth in the Premier League after a string of poor results, including league defeats to Manchester City and Liverpool, with speculation that continued poor form could cost the Norwegian his job.
The French international midfielder is in Dubai as he begins his recovery, and he could be out until 2022. At that point – assuming he does not sign a new deal with United – he would be able to sign a pre-contract agreement with another club abroad to move on a free transfer in the summer.
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Speaking at the press conference ahead of United’s game with Watford on Saturday Solskjaer said: “It was a disappointing injury for Paul at a disappointing time for him.
“I can’t say how quickly it will heal: fingers crossed, six or seven weeks, but the worst-case scenario is 10, 11, 12 weeks on muscle injuries like this. Hopefully just after Christmas we can see him.”
Solskjaer suggested that Donny van de Beek’s commitment in training could see him get his chance in Pogba’s absence.
“His approach to the game and training is spot on and I can’t fault him,” he said. “Donny thinks he should be playing more and he will be involved. He’ll reap his rewards.”
Despite recent criticism of Harry Maguire by former United captain Roy Keane, Solskjaer defended his captain.
“I’ve not considered taking away any captain’s armband away from him,” he said. “He’s been an absolute stalwart for us, on and off the pitch. Harry’s not one to hide on the treatment table or try to find any excuse to sit out games. As a true example of a Manchester United player, Harry is always there for his team and his country. The so-called experts have their opinions. He’s going to prove the critics wrong.”
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