PERTH, Australia (AFP) – Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insisted want-away star Paul Pogba will be a contender for Manchester United’s captaincy after the French World Cup winner overcame a turbulent week and helped a lacklustre United post a 2-0 friendly victory over Perth Glory last Saturday.
After being linked with a move to Real Madrid and Juventus, Pogba’s uncertain future at Old Trafford has overshadowed United’s pre-season tour of Australia.
Following Antonio Valencia’s exit, Solskjaer is looking for a new captain and has thrown Pogba’s name into the ring. Ashley Young and Juan Mata skippered 45 minutes each against Perth.
When asked if Pogba was under consideration, the United boss said, “Yes. We’ve got quite a few possibilities there and when the season starts we’ll announce it.
“Of course we’ll have a good assessment and see how pre-season goes.”
An under-pressure United initially struggled against a weakened Perth Glory, who won Australia’s A-League Premiers Plate last season. After a scoreless opening half, Solskjaer changed his entire lineup and inserted several stars, including Pogba.
United finally cracked Perth’s tenacious defence in the 60th minute when Pogba showcased his sublime touch with a deft backheel to forward Marcus Rashford, who struck it past goalkeeper Liam Reddy.
James Garner, 18, sealed the result with a long-range strike in the dying stages.
Solskjaer was optimistic about his side’s performance despite the modest score line. “We are happy. It was all about continuing the good fitness work they’ve done,” he said.
“We played a very well organised team. We did enough in the end. It was professional work from everyone.”
Suffering from a lack of numbers for the friendly, Perth fielded a youthful team including two 15-year-olds.
Solskjaer rested most of his top players in the first half, including Pogba, Rashford and regular goalkeeper David de Gea.