EPL

Pogba can play a massive part in helping Man Utd win title, says Rooney

By Sports Desk January 21, 2021

Paul Pogba can make the difference for Manchester United and help them win the Premier League title this season, according to club legend Wayne Rooney.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side overcame an early deficit to defeat Fulham 2-1 on Wednesday, a result that moved them back to the top of the table. 

While Manchester City and Leicester City are just two points adrift – and defending champions Liverpool are six back with a game in hand - Rooney feels his former side have the strength in depth to last the distance. 

United's all-time leading scorer pointed to Bruno Fernandes and Edinson Cavani helping to add a winning mentality to the squad, though Rooney feels Pogba is key to their hopes of success.

"Over the last few years Man United haven't been ready to challenge for the title," Rooney, now appointed as permanent boss at Derby County, told the media on Thursday. 

"Where I think now, they've built a squad of players. Fernandes coming in has helped massively. Cavani, with that winning mentality, has helped massively - now the squad is challenging for the Premier League title.  

"I said six weeks ago to the coaches in the office that I felt Man United will win the league. I still feel that today - and Paul Pogba will have a massive part to play in that. 

"They have bought players in who have a winning mentality, who will relieve a bit of the pressure on Paul and let him do what he does best in showing his quality on the pitch."

Victory at Fulham means United are now unbeaten in their past 17 Premier League away games, equalling their longest ever such run on the road in top-flight history. 

Pogba scored the winner in the 65th minute, his sixth in the competition from outside the penalty area in his career but just the third he has managed with his left foot.  

Having lined up wide on the right in the 0-0 draw with Liverpool at the weekend, the France international was utilised in a deeper central midfield role at Craven Cottage, though still made the most passes in the opposing team's half of any player on the pitch, demonstrating his influence on proceedings.

Pogba, whose long-term future with the Red Devils still remains in some doubt, also managed the only goal of the game in the recent 1-0 triumph at Burnley.

Related items

  • Pakistan on brink of series win despite Taylor-Chakabva resistance Pakistan on brink of series win despite Taylor-Chakabva resistance

    Pakistan are on the brink of a 2-0 series win against Zimbabwe after the hosts finished day three of the second Test on 220-9.

    After the tourists declared at 510-8, Zimbabwe were forced into the follow-on thanks to a career-best five-for from Hasan Ali (5-27).

    Zimbabwe managed only 15 runs in 13 overs at one stage of the opening hour as any thoughts of a chase seemed to dissipate.

    They did at least offer sterner resistance over the subsequent 30 overs, reaching 132 before being sent in to bat again.

    Nauman Ali (5-86) skittled Kevin Kasuza for 22 and Mohammad Rizwan caught Tarisai Musakanda for the loss of just eight runs, as Shaheen Afridi (4-45) also smelled blood.

    However, Zimbabwe began to get a grip on proceedings through an admirable stand from Regis Chakabva (80) and captain Brendan Taylor (49).

    Taylor in particular seemed to enter short-form mode, swinging for 10 fours from just 31 balls before being removed at 142-3 as Rizwan and Shaheen combined again.

    Chakabva was taken at slip by a good catch from Babar Azam, and suddenly the win was in Pakistan's sights, Milton Shumba caught for 16 before consecutive balls from Nauman accounted for Donald Tiripano and Roy Kaia as he reached 300 first-class wickets.

    Shaheen bowled Tendai Chisoro for eight and Richard Ngarava for a duck but Luke Jongwe (31 not out) dug deep to keep the contest alive.

    As the shadows lengthened in Harare, Pakistan switched to the spin attack but could not find the breakthrough and must return on Monday to finish the job.

     

    Red-hot Hasan

    Hasan has enjoyed spectacular form since returning to Test cricket this year and made it 24 wickets in five innings as he dismantled the Zimbabwe middle order in the early session.

    Although he could not add to his tally as Nauman led the charge in the second innings, this was still a Test to remember.

     

    Taylor fights fire with fire

    After a first-innings knock of just nine, Taylor opted to attack the bowlers when he came out again, swinging for the boundary with abandon.

    His 49 from just 31 balls was an entertaining ray of light for a home side for whom this contest has looked over for some time.

  • Ace Higgo storms to victory in Gran Canaria Ace Higgo storms to victory in Gran Canaria

    Garrick Higgo nailed a hole in one en route to securing a second European Tour victory in the space of 14 days at the Canary Islands Championship on Sunday.

    The South African lifted the Gran Canaria Open trophy only a fortnight ago and was in a league of his own with a closing 64 at Golf Costa Adeje, winning by six strokes from Maverick Antcliff with a score of 27 under par.

    His card included seven birdies and two bogeys but the crowning moment of another fine success came when he aced the par-three seventh.

    Higgo now has three European Tour wins from only 26 events played, making him the fastest South African to three wins (not including majors and world golf championships).

    That matches the record of Tiger Woods for fewest number of events required to lift three titles on the European/PGA Tour since 1990.

    "Jeez, it's amazing. I'm just really happy and thankful," Higgo said in quotes reported by the European Tour.

    "It's not easy to lead, the other day was my first time and in this game anything can happen."

    Tapio Pulkkanen was seven shots back in third, while Andrew Johnston was among a cluster of players tied for fourth at 19 under.

  • Greenwood's teenage kicks – Man United talent breaks Rooney record Greenwood's teenage kicks – Man United talent breaks Rooney record

    Mason Greenwood's strike against Aston Villa on Sunday saw him surpass Wayne Rooney to set a new record for the most Premier League goals scored as a teenager for Manchester United.

    Greenwood put United 2-1 up shortly after Bruno Fernandes levelled with a penalty, the 19-year-old receiving a pass from Aaron Wan-Bissaka and spinning away from Tyrone Mings in one movement before finding the bottom-right corner. United went on to win 3-1.

    It was the 16th Premier League goal of his career, having got his first in November 2019 shortly after turning 18.

    As such, Greenwood surpassed Rooney's haul of 15 goals scored for United as a teenager. 

    Greenwood could yet extend his record considerably as well, given he does not turn 20 until October.

    He has largely struggled to reach the same heights as last term when he scored 10 times in the Premier League, however the England international has hit a purple patch since the start of April.

    Greenwood now has five Premier League goals in that time, a tally that no player can better. It took him 29 league outings to score his previous five in the competition.

    It was the kind of form that had Greenwood's 2019-20 looking even more remarkable, given his 10 goals came from an xG (expected goals) value of just 2.9.

    No one in the Premier League had a better xG overperformance last term, suggesting his finishing was either spectacularly clinical or he was getting lucky an abnormal amount.

    While it seems it was a blend of both, his recent showings suggest Greenwood's got his career back on track after a bit of a wobble.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.