Jose Mourinho’s strained relations with Manchester United’s record signing Paul Pogba will again come under close scrutiny when the Premier League returns from its international break this weekend.
Mourinho’s side, out of action for two weeks since winning an FA Cup quarterfinal against Brighton, face struggling Swansea at Old Trafford on Saturday, with the United manager forced to decide whether to recall the French international to his line-up.
Pogba has been left out of the starting XI by Mourinho for United’s past three games, a shocking turn of events given that run has included a cup quarterfinal, a vital Champions League tie against Sevilla and a high-profile Premier League meeting with fierce local rivals Liverpool.
But the 25-year-old’s struggle to find consistent form, plus an obvious difficulty on Mourinho’s part to fit him into a system that suits his style of play, has seen Pogba reach what appears to be a crossroads in his career under the Portuguese manager.
Should Mourinho retain his favoured 4-2-3-1 formation against Swansea, the decision about his starting line-up may be aided by the fact that young Scotland international Scott McTominay, who has played in Pogba’s position for two of those past three fixtures, has returned from international duty with a calf injury.
Pogba strengthened his claims for a recall, turning in an impressive performance for France in their 3-1 friendly victory against World Cup hosts Russia in St Petersburg in midweek.
In keeping with the inconsistent nature of his season, however, he had been left out of the previous World Cup warm-up game, against Colombia.