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Paul Pogba looks like Manchester United captain material despite FA Cup exit at Wolves 

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Paul Pogba looks like Manchester United captain material despite FA Cup quarter-final exit at WolvesOle Gunnar Solskjaer has restored faith in Pogba, who made captain at WolvesIt was the only highlight for Pogba as Man United crashed out of the FA Cup He was made captain in the absence of Ashley Young and David De GeaSolskjaer said he would build his United team around the France international

He won’t look back too fondly on a wet night in Wolverhampton, but at least Paul Pogba is considered captaincy material once again.

Jose Mourinho thought so too before unceremoniously stripping the Frenchman of the vice-captaincy in September at the height of a toxic fallout between the two men.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has restored faith in Pogba and been repaid handsomely by the midfielder’s improved form over the last three months, even if United’s limp FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Wolves was one of his less impressive displays.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has restored faith in Pogba, who made captain at Wolves

It took 19 games to officially hand him the armband at Molineux in the absence of Ashley Young, David De Gea and Antonio Valencia.

Who knows? It might be a glimpse into the future if Solskjaer is given the job full-time and Pogba extends his contract at Old Trafford, which seemed highly unlikely while Mourinho remained in charge.

Even before he landed the United job, Solskjaer said he would build a team around Pogba and he has been good to his word since returning to the club as caretaker boss in December.

It was the only highlight for Pogba as Man United crashed out of the FA Cup

The only thing missing has been the armband. Young had worn it in 15 of Solskjaer’s previous 18 games in charge with De Gea and club skipper Valencia leading United on the other three occasions against Newcastle, Huddersfield and Fulham.

With Valencia set to leave Old Trafford at the end of the season and Young nearing the end of his career at the club after signing a new 12-month deal at the age of 33, United will be in the market for a new captain sooner rather than later.

Pogba is an obvious choice. Anyone who witnessed his impromptu team talk when France won the World Cup last summer could see his leadership qualities.

He was made captain in the absence of Ashley Young, ANtonio Valencia and David De Gea

The 25-year-old’s physical presence and the manner of his play mean that he often comes across as United’s de facto leader on the pitch anyway – certainly since Solskjaer replaced Mourinho and the Frenchman came out of hibernation. The image of him on the bench as an unused substitute at Anfield in Mourinho’s final game has seemed more ridiculous by the week.

Less so here perhaps. This was one of those off-days when Pogba drifted in and out of the game, unable to grab it by the scruff of the neck.

Credit to Wolves too. They shackled him for long periods in much the same way Paris Saint-Germain did in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie at Old Trafford.

Solskjaer said he would build his United team around the France international

He took a while to get going in the teeming rain at Molineux. United’s first chance – more of a half chance really – came his way in the 10th minute when Pogba found himself in sight of goal on the edge of the penalty box. He took aim but it wasn’t one of his best efforts and flew well wide of John Ruddy’s goal.

When he played a pass down the line intended for Jesse Lingard straight into the back of Anthony Martial, United’s No.6 threw his head back and looked up to the night sky in frustration.

But Pogba is one of those players who can come to life and turn a game, and there was evidence of that in the minutes before half-time. First, he made one of those stampeding runs over halfway and skipped past Willy Boly only to be chopped down by the defender. Then he was hacked down by Ruben Neves in a similar position. Both Wolves players were booked for their troubles.

But it proved to be only a brief awakening. Pogba faded again after half-time, his exasperation evident again when he was bundled to the floor by a combination of Neves and Joao Moutinho, beating the turf in anger as he looked to referee Martin Atkinson for more protection.

It was no doubt tinged by frustration at his own ability to impact the game. As captain, he would have expected even more of himself – and so did we.

Woves beat Pogba's Man United 2-1 thanks to goals from Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota

 

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