Ralf Rangnick says he has spoken with Paul Pogba on the telephone and expects the midfielder to return to Manchester United training in approximately two weeks.
Pogba, 28, has missed United’s last seven matches in all competitions due to a thigh injury and is yet to meet in person with new boss Rangnick, who has taken over the reins at Old Trafford on an interim basis until the end of the season.
The France international has been working on his fitness and recuperating in Dubai, but will make his way back to Manchester today as the Red Devils prepare to take on Norwich in the Premier League.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference, Rangnick revealed Pogba had made significant strides with his recovery and was ‘getting better’ with every day.
However, the club are reluctant to put a date on Pogba’s possible return and it’s clear the 2018 World Cup winner is still some way away from full match fitness.
Asked how hard it will be for Pogba to get into the team when he makes his comeback, Rangnick told reporters: ‘We spoke over the phone on Tuesday and he was still in Dubai. He’s expected to come back today and then we get to know each other in person on Sunday.
‘We had a telephone call for about 10 to 15 minutes and he told me that he’s getting better.
‘But obviously he’s still not fully fit so from all I’ve heard so far it will take another couple of weeks until he’s fit for training again.
‘And then, of course, he has been out for quite some time so I suppose it will take another couple of weeks to get him match fit.’
Rangnick believes he and his coaching team will have to work hard to develop Pogba both ‘physically and tactically’ when the Frenchman returns to the fold.
‘In the first instance, now it’s important that he gets fully fit in order to be able to train with the rest of the group,’ he added.
‘We then have to develop him physically and tactically to also be fit to play in the Premier League.’
Rangnick has been impressed with the speed at which his squad have adapted to his playing style in his opening two games as manager against Crystal Palace and Young Boys.
He hopes his players are able to start ‘taking the next steps’ when they return to action at Carrow Road this weekend.
‘In the first instance it was about getting to know the players,’ he explained.
‘We had 45 minutes of training before the game against Crystal Palace and then, obviously, we did quite a lot of video footage with them in order to tell them how we want them to play.
‘As we all saw they did well in that game. Not everything was perfect, but quite a few things worked out well. We were always on the front foot, we had control on the game and now it’s about taking the next steps.
‘It’s a lot of trying to be on the field. We don’t have that many training sessions. This week we had a few, but not with the full group, so we always had a couple of players from the Under-19s and Under-21s to train with us.
‘It’s now about taking the next steps. I think the basics of what we showed against Crystal Palace was good. We didn’t allow them to score, we didn’t allow them too many opportunities and we had a clean sheet.
‘This is the ambition we have now when we play Norwich away. Norwich have improved since the change of managers, they play a little bit more direct, a little more vertical than they did with Daniel Farke so it will be a challenge to play at Carrow Road.
‘But obviously we want to improve our performance, we want to build up what we already showed against Crystal Palace and hopefully get the next win tomorrow.’
Rangnick has repeatedly looked to brush off questions surrounding United’s plans for the January transfer window, with the German adamant his squad is already big enough.
But it appears Rangnick is ready to sit down and talk with those keen to go out on loan for the second half of the season.
‘I have got to know them better in this week. I saw most of them play in the two games and had minimum or four or five training sessions with them this week, but it’s still too early to speak about what might happen in the winter transfer window,’ he went on.
‘If I look at the number of players we have, it’s still a big squad, we definitely do not have not enough players.
‘But we also need to make sure that players want to stay here if they see they’re not getting enough game-time here.
‘It might make sense to speak individually with the players and see if a loan deal might make sense.
‘Right now it’s still too early to speak about that.’
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