Matic will help un­lock Pogba’s tal­ents

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

LON­DON: The sign­ing of work­horse Ne­manja Matic should al­low Manch­ester United to make bet­ter use of gifted France mid­fielder Paul Pogba in the com­ing years, the club’s for­mer forward Brian McClair said.

United man­ager Jose Mour­inho ac­quired the tall Ser­bian en­forcer from Pre­mier League ri­vals and cham­pi­ons Chelsea for a re­ported fee rang­ing from £40 mil­lion to £50 mil­lion on a three-year con­tract on Mon­day.

“United need some­one who sits there be­hind Pogba, who played his best foot­ball when (cur­rent United cap­tain) Michael Car­rick also played last sea­son,” McClair told ESPNFC (www.espnfc. com).

“Michael is com­ing to the end of a won­der­ful ca­reer, so United need some­one who can do some­thing sim­i­lar, but who will be more mo­bile in the com­ing years.”

With Pogba a reg­u­lar starter for United, Matic looks set to com­pete for a mid­field slot with the 36-year-old Car­rick, Spa­niard An­der Her­rera and Bel­gian en­forcer Marouane Fel­laini.

“In the short term, I could see that some­one like Matic would fit in,” McClair said.

“In some games, Paul Pogba has been in the wrong place and it has sti­fled his abil­i­ties which United bought him for.”

Matic, who turned 29 yes­ter­day, won two league ti­tles in his sec­ond stint with Chelsea, hav­ing been off­loaded to Por­tuguese gi­ants Ben­fica in 2011 dur­ing his first spell with the club un­der Mour­inho.

Pogba, who was shipped out from United to Ju­ven­tus by Sir Alex Fer­gu­son in 2012 as a 19-year old, re­turned to Old Traf­ford last year for a world record fee of £89m and en­dured a patchy come­back.

With Matic boost­ing the ar­ray of ball-win­ners at United, the phys­i­cal yet tal­ented French­man should be al­lowed to play fur­ther up­field to make use of his great­est skills.

“Pogba’s at­tributes are all about at­tack­ing,” said McClair.

“He can find a pass, beat a player and has fan­tas­tic skills. He can score goals. For him to have the best op­por­tu­nity of suc­cess at Old Traf­ford, Pogba needs to be play­ing in the fi­nal third of the pitch as much as pos­si­ble.”

Matic could make his com­pet­i­tive de­but for last sea­son’s Europa League win­ners United against Cham­pi­ons League hold­ers Real Madrid in the Uefa Su­per Cup show­down next Tues­day in Mace­do­nia’s cap­i­tal Skopje. – Reuters

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