Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville believes the ‘only way’ Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can select Paul Pogba and Bruno Fernandes in the same starting line-up is to copy the example set by Pep Guardiola at Manchester City.
Pogba has started the last three matches in all competitions on the bench and he’s made good contributions as a substitute in wins against Newcastle United and Paris Saint-Germain.
The Frenchman started in defeats against Crystal Palace and Tottenham in the early stages of the season and Solskjaer has since admitted he maybe rushed the midfielder back into action too quickly following his positive coronavirus result.
When Pogba has started, he’s been played in a two alongside Nemanja Matic with Fernandes given a lone role in an attacking midfield position.
However, Pogba’s strengths lie in his ability to break forward in attacking areas but that’s left United’s leaky defence exposed.
Neville admits Pogba’s ongoing absence poses a dilemma to Solskjaer but he’s urged the Norwegian to copy Guardiola’s use of Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva in order to fit the Frenchman in his starting line-up.
‘I think it’s a problem when you have £150m worth of midfielders [Pogba and Donny van de Beek] sitting on the bench,’ Neville told Sky Sports.
‘You’ve got a player that’s won a World Cup, has been dominant in Europe with Juventus and is Manchester United’s record signing [Pogba] but he can’t get into the team at the moment.
‘Me and Patrice Evra disagreed before the game on Saturday. Patrice was disappointed with the team because he felt United were rotating and that wasn’t the strongest team but I think Ole on Saturday felt that was the strongest team.
‘I’ve never understood why he hasn’t tried – and maybe he’s looked in training and hasn’t liked it – one sitter with Pogba & Fernandes in front like De Bruyne & Silva.
‘Kevin De Bruyne and David SIlva were not disciplined midfield players before Guardiola came to Manchester City -he made them into that. So that’s the only system I can see where it’s obvious that he can get them two into position.
‘More often than not he’s played Matic and Pogba sitting alongside each other with Fernandes in front. Pogba can’t play there well because in that position you need to be disciplined but in a one and a two I think you can have a bit more freedom to run forward.’