London: Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a fresh Paul Pogba headache, revealing illness has delayed the midfielder’s return from injury ahead of Wednesday’s League Cup quarter-final against giant-killers Colchester.
The France World Cup winner has been sidelined for most of the season with an ankle injury, playing just six times for United after a summer of speculation following his statement that it could be time for a “new challenge”.
But after the United manager spoke, videos appeared on social media of Pogba dancing and showing few ill effects at his brother Florentin’s wedding.
Pogba, 26, had been due to resume first-team training this week but Solskjaer said: “Of all things he’s struck down ill now.”
“He’s been off for two or three days, three days probably, so that’s not beneficial. That’s probably set him back quite a bit,” the Norwegian boss said, looking ahead to the meeting with fourth-tier Colchester.
“As I’ve said so many times, Paul’s a top, top player that we want to see playing his best football at Man United,” Solskjaer said.
“We just need to get him fit and match fit. It might be half an hour, 45, 60, 90 - who knows, the first game. We’re working hard to get him back but now he’s ill.”
Pogba reportedly had permission from the club to attend his brother’s wedding over the weekend, with United drawing 1-1 with Everton in his absence.
“We can talk about Paul all day long and it’s games like this for example when you’re lacking that one creative pass or ideas maybe,” said Solskjaer
“He has that quality that not many midfielders in the world have so to get him back would be great.”
While Pogba will be sidelined, Diogo Dalot could make his first appearance in 10 weeks.
Solskjaer said winning the League Cup or reaching the final would be a boost for his players.
“We showed that by the team we put out against Chelsea (in the previous round), that we take this seriously,” he said. “Even though we were in a difficult spell in the league it was still important for us to create that momentum and belief in the players.”
Solskjaer plans to make changes against Colchester, who beat Tottenham on penalties earlier in the competition, but pledged the side would be strong enough to win the game.
He said teenager Mason Greenwood was “making it hard for me to leave him out” after three goals in his past two appearances.