Van Persie tells Pogba and Solskjaer to clarify Man Utd plans with joint interview

By Sports Desk February 26, 2020

Robin van Persie has encouraged Paul Pogba and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer to clarify their plans for Manchester United with a joint interview.

Questions over Pogba's future have been a troublesome undercurrent to an inconsistent season for United and Solskjaer.

The midfielder has been persistently linked with a return to Juventus or a move to Real Madrid, while agent Mino Raiola has encouraged the speculation with comments in the press suggesting a move would be in the player's best interests.

Matters reached a head when Raiola launched a social media tirade against Solskjaer after being criticised by the United manager, although he later moved to reduce tensions by offering to "reach out" to the Norwegian and suggesting Pogba could sign a new contract.

Pogba's injury problems have not helped the uncertainty over his plans – the France star has played only eight times in all competitions this season due to ankle problems, and Solskjaer stated last week that he was "nowhere near" a return.

Former United star Van Persie thinks Pogba's prolonged absence has only exacerbated the rumours about whether he will stay at the club, and he wants the player to go public to make his clear whether he is happy at Old Trafford.

The ex-Netherlands forward also thinks Pogba should state what he considers to be his best position, as Van Persie believes there has been unjust criticism of the 26-year-old, who has played in different midfield roles since returning to United in 2016.

"It's very difficult. With Pogba, it's an interesting situation," Van Persie, speaking courtesy of Enterprise Rent-A-Car, told Stats Perform.

"Pogba, in my opinion, is a world-class player, he has proven it over the years. He has it all.

"But first, I think with him, and that's after a couple of years now, I think he should come out and he should say what his favourite position is. If that's done, then people can judge him based on this position. Now, I don't think people really know if he's a six, if he's a number 10... that's a big difference.

"I have the feeling people judge him a bit unfairly. They expect 20 goals, they expect 20 assists, they expect Pogba to make Manchester United champions. But, is he a six? If he's a six, then you cannot expect 20 goals. If he's a 10, maybe 12 to 15 goals. So, it's not really fair on him because it's not really clear.

"Then, you have the second subject: is he happy there? There's constantly rumours, you have the agent constantly giving interviews, you have the coach answering questions almost every day, every week. There's a lot going on beside the main event, and the most important thing is football.

"I know how it works, especially if you're injured. People can't judge you on your game, so they start to talk about other things.

"I think for Pogba, and Manchester, it would be best to… I don't know, do an interview together or something, together with the coach, and just say, 'Listen: this is what I want, this is where I would like to play – judge me on that. I'm happy, or I'm not happy, or whatever'. Now, it's a lot of questions going around."

United face Club Brugge in the Europa League last-32 second leg at Old Trafford on Thursday, having drawn 1-1 in the first leg.

Related items

  • European Super League: This is not sport – Guardiola against closed-shop competition European Super League: This is not sport – Guardiola against closed-shop competition

    Pep Guardiola expressed huge reservations over any closed-shop competitions that remove the relationship "between effort and success" after plans for a European Super League were announced on Sunday.

    The Manchester City boss insisted he needed more information about the tournament before making a full judgement, but admitted he was against the concept of a format that involved hand-picked clubs and no open means of qualification for other teams.

    City are one of the six Premier League teams to have signed up to the continental breakaway league, which has attracted a deluge of criticism from across the sport and beyond.

    Speaking ahead of City's top-flight clash with Aston Villa on Wednesday, Guardiola faced questioning over a development that has dominated the headlines since being made public.

    "Sport is not a sport when the relation between the effort and reward doesn't exist," he said. 

    "It's not sport when success is guaranteed, when it doesn't matter if you lose. I want the best competitions as strong as possible. In this statement, it's what I feel. This is not sport."

  • Mason to manage Spurs until end of the season after Mourinho sacking Mason to manage Spurs until end of the season after Mourinho sacking

    Ryan Mason has been handed the role of interim head coach at Tottenham until the end of the season following Jose Mourinho's dismissal. 

    Spurs sacked Mourinho on Monday six days before the EFL Cup final against Manchester City, with their Champions League qualification hopes hanging by a thread.

    Mason took first-team training after that move and will now lead the team for the remainder of the 2020-21 campaign.

    The first game for Mason will see seventh-placed Tottenham host Southampton in the Premier League on Wednesday.

    Mason will be assisted by Chris Powell and Nigel Gibbs, with Ledley King continuing as a first-team assistant and Michel Vorm as his goalkeeping coach.

    Spurs chairman Daniel Levy talked up the quality of the club's squad after Mason's appointment was confirmed on Tuesday.

    "We have great belief in this squad of talented players," he said. 

    "We have a cup final and six Premier League games ahead of us and we shall now focus all our energies on achieving a strong finish to the season."

    Tottenham are one of six English clubs who have announced their intention to join the controversial European Super League, a development that has overshadowed their decision to sack Mourinho.

    Mason, 29, was a Spurs player for eight years after coming through the club's youth system.

    He later joined Hull City but suffered a fractured skull in January 2017 that eventually forced him to retire, prompting his early move into coaching with Spurs in 2018.

  • European Super League: Everton accuse Premier League six of 'betraying' fans European Super League: Everton accuse Premier League six of 'betraying' fans

    Everton have accused the six Premier League clubs who have signed up to the European Super League of "betraying" football supporters.

    Plans for a breakaway league were announced on Sunday, with Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham among the 12 teams confirmed to have signed up.

    The news was met with a wave of criticism from across the spectrum, including fans, governing bodies, players, ex-professionals and other clubs.

    And on Tuesday the Toffees made clear their feelings on the matter in a scathing statement which attacked the involvement of their fellow English top-flight outfits.

    "Everton is saddened and disappointed to see proposals of a breakaway league pushed forward by six clubs," read a statement from the club's board of directors.

    "Six clubs acting entirely in their own interests.

    "Six clubs tarnishing the reputation of our league and the game.

    "Six clubs choosing to disrespect every other club with whom they sit around the Premier League table.

    "Six clubs taking for granted and even betraying the majority of football supporters across our country and beyond."

    The Merseyside club were particularly critical of the timing of the move, coming amid a global pandemic which has threatened the very existence of some clubs.

    "At this time of national and international crisis – and a defining period for our game – clubs should be working together collaboratively with the ideals of our game and its supporters uppermost," the statement continued.

    "Instead, these clubs have been secretly conspiring to break away from a football pyramid that has served them so well.

    "And in that Pyramid Everton salutes EVERY club, be it Leicester City, Accrington Stanley, Gillingham, Lincoln City, Morecambe, Southend United, Notts County and the rest who have, with their very being, enriched the lives of their supporters throughout the game's history. And vice versa.

    "The self-proclaimed Super Six appear intent on disenfranchising supporters across the game – including their own – by putting the very structure that underpins the game we love under threat."

    Since the plans were made public, the dissenting voices have come from every corner, with UEFA threatening sanctions, fans protesting and even players and managers speaking out against them.

    It is a reaction that Everton say must be taken on board by those leading the charge for a European Super League.

    "The backlash is understandable and deserved – and has to be listened to," the club's board said.

    "This preposterous arrogance is not wanted anywhere in football outside of the clubs that have drafted this plan.

    "On behalf of everyone associated with Everton, we respectfully ask that the proposals are immediately withdrawn and that the private meetings and subversive practises that have brought our beautiful game to possibly its lowest ever position in terms of trust end now.

    "Finally we would ask the owners, chairmen, and Board members of the six clubs to remember the privileged position they hold – not only as custodians of their clubs but also custodians of the game. The responsibility they carry should be taken seriously.

    "We urge them all to consider what they wish their legacy to be."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.