Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba is set to return to first team action in a little over a week, as he recovers from an ankle injury.
Pogba has struggled with the injury for most of the season and returned to action briefly against Rochdale in the Carabao Cup and then Arsenal in the Premier League, before suffering a relapse. He has been pictured both with a walking stick and protective covering on his ankle.
He has also been shown playing basketball after taking time away to go to the United States, which has led to accusations of a lack of professionalism, and there have even been rumours that Pogba is feigning injury as he attempts to force through a move to Real Madrid.
Pogba’s return would help for frantic December for United, and the club are already struggling with injury. Brazilians Fred and Andreas Pereira were outnumbered and for much of the game against Sheffield United on Sunday, outplayed by their opponents.
Nemanja Matic is making his own return from injury and Scott McTominay is also out injured, meaning that the club are down to the bare bones. For the Europa League trip to Astana, manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has named a second-string side full of youth players.
United are already through to the next round of the Europa League and so can afford to give their senior players a break, and it will give them more time to recover from their exertions, allow young players some first team experience, and also ideally prevent any more players from being brought down with another injury.
The club’s next Premier League match is on Sunday, against Aston Villa, meaning unless a young player is promoted from the Astana squad, it is almost certain that the players for the match at Old Trafford will have had a full week off.