Pogba ruled out for weeks due to thigh injury
Manager Solskjaer expected to ring the changes for FA Cup visit of West Ham
Paul Pogba: will miss Manchester United’s FA Cup fifth-round clash with West Ham. Photograph: Phil Noble/FA
Paul Pogba will be out of action for a few weeks due to a thigh injury, Ole Gunnar Solskjær has revealed.
The Manchester United midfielder was forced off during the 3-3 draw with Everton on Saturday and will miss a series of games, starting with the FA Cup fifth-round tie at home against West Ham on Tuesday.
“It’s an injury that will take a few weeks to heal,” Solskjær told MUTV. “He’s just started his recovery, working with the medical staff and we’ll get him back as soon and as safely as we can.
“Of course, Paul has been very important for us and we’re not going to take any risks. [so it is] a few weeks definitely.”
Pogba is in line to miss at least one leg of the Europa League last-32 tie against Real Sociedad. United are due to face Chelsea and Manchester City on successive weekends at the end of February and beginning of March.
“We’ve been very healthy and strong for a long period so we can’t moan too much,” Solskjær said.
He also suggested Harry Maguire, who has played 37 times in all competitions, may not face West Ham.
“I think about if he needs a rest – if he physically can keep going and going. But the nature of a centre-back position is different to full-back, wide men, any other position on the pitch. Centre-backs are the ones you’re [less] ]protecting because they’re working less. Then again, he’s never injured, Harry, he’s never really been really badly hurt.”
Solskjaer admits Dean Henderson is “not the most patient guy” as United’s back-up goalkeeper continues to try and prove he is worthy of a bigger role at Old Trafford. Having spent loan spells at Stockport, Grimsby, Shrewsbury and Sheffield United, the 23-year-old has supplanted Sergio Romero as back-up to David De Gea after impressing during two seasons with the Blades.
Henderson was rewarded with a new and improved contract upon returning to United in the summer, tying the academy graduate down until at least 2025. The Cumbrian has since made 10 first-team appearances for United and last month admitted that “being sat on the bench is not something I want to do all the time, so that’s been the hardest bit”.
Henderson looks set to make another appearance in the cup clash with West Ham, when he can stake his claim days after De Gea’s disappointing display against Everton.
United’s first choice goalkeeper is again under scrutiny after being at fault for Everton’s first and final goals in the 3-3 draw at Old Trafford on Saturday.
“Dean has done very well when he’s got the chance and he’s matured,” United manager Solskjaer said. “For me, he’s developed his game. I know he’s not played as many games as he would’ve done last season, but you see every game when he plays and in training his improvement, working hard on a couple of aspects that we’ve spoke about with him.
“I’ve been impressed with his attitude and workrate. Of course he’s, how to say... he’s not the most patient guy. He wants to play every game because he knows that he’ll perform well, so long may it continue because he’s improved since he’s come here.”
Henderson started in the previous rounds against Watford and Liverpool, with Mason Greenwood ending a seven-week goalless streak in the latter fixture. The 19-year-old striker has not scored in his four appearances since then but has impressed for United, looking particularly sharp in the ultimately frustrating draw with Everton.
“Mason was different class,” Solskjaer said. “I thought he was the standout performer on the pitch, he just didn’t get a goal that his performance deserves.
“I think the last few games if you look at him closely, I know we scored nine against Southampton but if you look at his performance I thought his performance was top and he’s improved and matured immensely.
“He’s working with some of the top forwards in the country, of course. He’s learning off them and it’s exciting to see that he’s come over his blip and he’s playing really, really well.”
Eric Bailly looks set to join Pogba on the sidelines. West Ham will be unable to call upon Jesse Lingard. The 28-year-old’s appearance for the Red Devils in the third-round tie against Watford was only his third of the season, leading to his loan move to the Hammers for the remainder of the season.
Lingard has not taken long to make an impact with the east Londoners, grabbing a brace on his debut at Aston Villa last week.
“They’ve improved a lot, I have to say,” Solskjaer said of the Hammers. “David’s got his team really well organised, as he always does with his team.
“He’s got some very good players and of course Jesse did really well for them and I hope he’s going to make them a better team because that means he’ll have played well.
“Jesse has started really well. He’s come down there, made a good first impression. He’s just got to knuckle down, work hard, keep his head down, keep improving his game. We know how good he is, just get a regular run in the team and then hopefully we can see the best of Jesse.” – Guardian/PA