5:30 PM ET
Manchester United interim boss Ralf Rangnick has said he expects Paul Pogba to be motivated to find his best form when he returns to the side “even if it’s only to show enough for a new contract elsewhere.”
Rangnick said he intends to pick Pogba once he fully recovers from a thigh injury despite the France international entering the final months of his contract at Old Trafford.
– Stream ESPN FC Daily on ESPN+ (U.S. only)
– Don’t have ESPN? Get instant access
The 28-year-old, who will be available on a free transfer in the summer, has returned to training after more than two months on the sidelines and could make his comeback against Middlesbrough in the FA Cup fourth round on Feb. 4.
“For me it’s not a question if a player has an expiring contract, the question is how much does he still want to be a part of this group, how much does he still feel emotionally and physically on board,” Rangnick told a news conference on Tuesday.
“As long as this is the case, why shouldn’t Paul Pogba now after two and half months of injury, fully fit again now and he also wants to show up, he wants to show the fans of Manchester United, the board, the whole world what kind of player he can be and even if it’s only to show enough for a new contract elsewhere, he will be highly motivated to do that and why should I then not play him?
Paul Pogba has entered the final months of his deal at Manchester United. Photo by Francesco Scaccianoce/LiveMedia/NurPhoto via Getty Images
Pogba last featured for United in the 2-2 draw with Atalanta in the Champions League on Nov. 2.
He has not played in the Premier League since being sent off during the 5-0 defeat to Liverpool on Oct. 24.
He has been linked with moves to Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus, Real Madrid and Barcelona when his contract expires in June but Rangnick insists the World Cup winner will be fully committed during the final months of the season even if they are his last at the club.
“By the way, my contract as a manager is also expiring in the summer,” Rangnick added.
“For us we have the same goal. We have the same ambition to be as successful as we can possibly be in the next three or four months.
“But as I said, there is a difference of how players deal with their current situation.
“How do they handle that? If they handle that in a professional way, an ambitious way, of course I will play players although they have a contract expiring in the summer.”