Paul Pogba is likely to miss a third consecutive Manchester United game after failing to fully shake off an ankle injury ahead of the Premier League clash with high flying Southampton on Sunday.
Pogba was in poor form prior to the November international break as a result of a rushed start to the season and missing crucial pre-season training due to testing positive for coronavirus in August.
Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had expressed hope that Pogba’s performances would pick up as his fitness improved, only for the Frenchman to suffer a frustrating setback when he returned to Manchester after representing his country three times in seven days this month.
Pogba did not train with the rest of the United squad on Friday, nor did Scott McTominay. It puts significant doubt on whether they will be available in time for Sunday’s game on the south coast.
There is more hope for Marcus Rashford, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Victor Lindelof, all of whom were present at training on Friday morning overcoming their respective fitness worries.
“Scott and Paul didn't train this morning. They weren't on the grass, so look very unlikely for the weekend,” Solskjaer said as he addressed the media on Friday afternoon. “Marcus, Victor and Aaron came through the session today, so hopefully they should be okay…but still not 100%.”
Solskjaer has raised the possibility that Donny van de Beek could finally make his long awaited first Premier League start since joining United from Ajax in September.
The boss has been careful to not ask too much of Van de Beek as he adapts to a new club and a new country, but the expected absence of both Pogba and McTominay creates a potential hole in midfield and he impressed from the start against Istanbul Basaksehir on Tuesday.
Edinson Cavani started his first game for United against the Turkish champions and is another Solskjaer has hinted could be involved in a similar capacity against Southampton. The veteran Uruguayan led the line through the middle, with Anthony Martial playing wide.
“They will both be available to play and I'm sure if they do, they'll be capable again,” Solskjaer said.