Manchester United fans were pleased to see Paul Pogba given the captain’s armband for the Champions League game against FC Basel on Tuesday night. Having played for the academy earlier in his career, it’s always nice to see former youth team boys lead the team out.
Frustratingly, the night didn’t go at all to plan, with Pogba limping off the field with less than 20 minutes played. He was spotted leaving Old Trafford on crutches and it has been since confirmed he will miss the next four to six weeks of football.
That means United will be without Pogba for Liverpool away, possibly Spurs at home, but hopefully back in time for Chelsea away at the beginning of November.
Andreas Pereira would have been a useful option over the next few weeks and you would place your football free bets on the young midfielder kicking himself for going against Jose Mourinho’s wishes and leaving for Valencia on loan.
Still, it’s not as if United are thin on the ground in this area of the pitch. The Sir Matt Busby Player of the Year, Ander Herrera, is waiting to step in to Pogba’s boots, having barely featured this season. He had five minutes at Swansea away before starting against Stoke, only to be substituted after 72 minutes.
Marouane Fellaini, one of Mourinho’s favourites, is also an option. He has made a good start to the season, making impressive substitute appearances, which has seen him score twice in his last two appearances. It’s not often you see Fellaini stick the soccer ball in the back of the net but he’s already scored half as many goals as he did last season in six appearances as he did in 47 last season. While his goals are helpful, he has done well winning back possession from the opposition too, which is primarily his role.
Club captain Michael Carrick is still yet to play this season, so while he is fresh, he isn’t match-fit, and having just turned 36, you wouldn’t expect him to be able to play for 90 minutes too regularly. But in the EFL Cup game against Burton, or in some of the Champions League games, or easier home league games, he could prove useful.
Still, with us playing so well, and Pogba having a big part to play in all of our games so far, it doesn’t take away what a huge blow it is that he will be missing. Hopefully United’s squad will be able to cope with his absence and he’ll be back wearing our armband again soon.