Paul Pogba is still “four or five weeks” away from returning to training with Manchester United, interim manager Ralf Rangnick has revealed.
The 28-year-old midfielder has not featured for United since their 2-2 Champions League draw with Atalanta on November 2, having sustained a calf injury on France duty shortly afterwards.
Rangnick previously indicated Pogba could make a comeback early in the new year, but that timescale has now been revised.
“As far as I know, I was told a week ago, it would be a minimum of at least another four or five weeks before he is fit for training again,” Rangnick told United’s official website.
“I saw him this morning before the training session. He was in the locker room, and I hope he will be back as soon as possible.”
Prior to sustaining his injury, Pogba led the way in the Premier League for assists with seven from nine appearances, averaging exactly one assist per 90 minutes on the pitch.
Despite him missing United’s last 11 matches, only Bruno Fernandes (eight) has assisted more goals than Pogba for the Red Devils in all competitions this season.
Among players in Europe’s top five leagues to have played as many times as Pogba this term, only RB Leipzig’s Brian Brobbey has assisted more goals per 90 minutes (1.45).
Pogba is yet to appear under Rangnick, who was appointed as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s temporary successor in late November, but the German will not rush the midfielder’s return.
“Right now, he’s not been part of the training group and, even if he was back whenever, two, three or four weeks, it will take some time,” Rangnick said.
“It’s one thing to be training fit, but he needs to be fit for the match and competition in either the Premier League or the Champions League and this will still take some time.”
Pogba is into the final six months of his United contract and has been strongly tipped for a free transfer away from Old Trafford at the end of the campaign.
According to reports in the British press on Friday, United have offered Pogba a new deal worth £500,000 a week.
Speaking last month, Rangnick insisted it is not his job to persuade Pogba – or any other United player – to stay at the club.
The Red Devils are back in action on Monday with an FA Cup third-round game against Aston Villa at Old Trafford.