“Ralf Rangnick on Paul Pogba: “He can be an important player, I’m fully aware of that, but this is true for all the other players that we have.”
Ralf Rangnick says it is not his job to convince Paul Pogba or any other player to stay at Manchester United.
The midfielder’s future is once again the subject of intense speculation, with Pogba out of contract next summer. Rangnick said Pogba was due to return to the UK from Dubai on Friday, where he undertook a warm-weather rehabilitation program to recover from a thigh injury sustained on international duty with France in November.
Current Situation of Pogba:
The United interim boss anticipates it will be another two weeks until Pogba can return to first-team training and then a further two weeks to reach the required level of intensity to play in his United system.
Rangnick spoke to the World Cup win over the phone on Tuesday and hopes to meet him in person on Sunday, the day after United’s next Premier League match against Norwich.
The 63-year-old said he is looking forward to working with Pogba but stated it was not his job – nor that of anyone else at the club – to convince any player of the merits of staying at United.
“Players have to want to stay and play for the club,” said Rangnick.
“For a big club like Manchester United, if a player does not want to play for a club like Manchester United, even in the long term, I don’t think it makes sense to convince him to change his mind.
“This is such a massive club [with] such fantastic support, I don’t think that anyone in the club should then try to convince the player to stay.
“But on the other hand, let’s wait and see. I’ve spoken with him for 15 minutes over the phone a few days ago. Let’s have him come back, get fully fit, train with the team and then we will see where we stand [and] how the team has developed by then.
“He can be an important player, I’m fully aware of that, but this is true for all the other players that we have.
“Also, my ambition is to make them better, to develop each individual player, and this is only possible by improving the performance of the whole team.”
Rangnick also said he had told team doctor Steve McNally and the head of rehabilitation and physiotherapy Robin Sadler that in the future he did not want players to travel away from the club for treatment.
What Ralf Rangnick has said:
Rangnick said he had operated two training groups this week. Right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who came into the team on Wednesday night, is a doubt for Saturday’s squad after injuring his wrist and knee during the European match. Diogo Dalot is likely to return to the starting XI in his place.
Rangnick said Serbian midfielder Nemanja Matic was another “question mark” due to a cold, though he had tested negative for Covid-19.
“So far, I’m more than happy with their attitude and eagerness to learn and get information that will help them get better not only against [without] the ball but with it,” he said.
“Having only two clean sheets until the Crystal Palace game and having no clean sheets since April at Old Trafford, it was very clear for me where our first focus should be for the first couple of days and weeks.
“If we can produce more clean sheets, if we don’t even allow [the opponent] to even shoot on our goal, the more I’m convinced that we will win games because with this group of players we are always capable of creating chances and scoring goals.”