MANCHESTER, England — Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says Paul Pogba is back in line for captaincy duties at Manchester United four months after being stripped of the role by Jose Mourinho.
Mourinho told Pogba in September he would no longer be considered for the armband but caretaker boss Solskjaer has reversed the decision.
“He is a leader,” Solskjaer told a news conference on Friday. “He’s a character, he influences people and you’ve seen the videos from France. He cares and he really wants to be successful.
“He knows he can’t do it by himself, it’s a team game and he’s a character that brings so many good things with him when he’s enjoying himself, I have to say.”
Pogba captained United nine times under Mourinho and in the absence of Antonio Valencia and Ashley Young was named skipper for the first game of the season against Leicester. But just over a month later Mourinho confirmed the Frenchman was no longer “second captain” while insisting there had been “no fall out” between the pair.
Pogba was benched for Mourinho’s final three league games in charge at Old Trafford but has been rejuvenated since his dismissal in December, scoring five goals in six starts under Solskjaer.
“You see the personality, he loves playing football,” said Solskjaer. “He’s a larger-than-life character, that’s just the way he is.
“When the performances come as well, that marries together as a good leader and you see what it meant to him winning the World Cup in what France broadcast. So for me, yes, he’s captain material.”
Solskjaer will make changes to his team to face Arsenal with Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku set to start the FA Cup match. Goalkeeper David De Gea did not travel to London on Thursday afternoon and Sergio Romero is likely to make his fourth appearance of the season while Eric Bailly and Juan Mata are also in contention.
Solskjaer has made his case to be named permanent manager after seven straight wins but he insists he is not looking at winning the FA Cup simply to strengthen his own prospects.
“I don’t really think about it that way,” said Solskjaer, who won the FA Cup twice as a player in 1999 and 2004. “I am still here just to help the team, and do my bit until I go back.”