Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants to see leadership from Paul Pogba when he returns to action.
The midfielder has featured eight times for his club this season as a result of an ankle injury, but is ready to play again having stepped up his recovery during football’s three-month break.
United travel to Tottenham on Friday night and Pogba, whose future is still the subject of speculation, could make his first appearance since Boxing Day.
He has been training and fans could see him play with January signing Bruno Fernandes, who has hit the ground running or Scott McTominay, one of the club’s best players this season.
“Of course, I want the same from Paul as from all the others, that we give our best and Paul is one of the best midfielders in the world. So of course we expect him to gradually improve as he gets more and more game time,” Solskjaer said.
“I don’t know if it’s 45 minutes this time, is it 60, so gradually, over the next few months, we can work him up back to his best, because Paul has had a very, very good career.
“Of course, he is a World Cup winner and we want to have that leadership on the pitch as well.”
It has been a year since Pogba expressed his desire for a new challenge, but he remains at Old Trafford and it will take something special to persuade United to sell him.
Speaking to reporters in Tokyo in June 2019, he said: “For me I have been for three years in Manchester and have been doing great – some good moments and some bad moments, like everybody. Like everywhere else.
“After this season and everything that happened this season, with my season being my best season as well, I think for me it could be a good time to have a new challenge somewhere else.
“I am thinking of this, to have a new challenge somewhere else.”
There is a different mood at the club now as United aim to finish in the top four.
Ahead of the Tottenham game, they are three points behind fourth place Chelsea, while Leicester remain in their sights, too.
And Fernandes, who has contributed to the mood shift, can’t wait to have his teammate back.
“I think everyone is excited to see Paul Pogba play again after his long injury,” he told talkSPORT.
“For me, playing alongside him will be amazing, obviously everyone wants to play with the best players and Paul is one of them.
“But we have a lot of good players and the most important thing is the results for Manchester United.”