Paul Pogba withdraws from France national team due to injury

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France are usually one of the betting favourites when it comes to any international tournament – they led the odds on VWin and other sports bookmakers ahead of the 2018 World Cup (which they lifted) as well as the 2020(1) Euros, and are again the favourites with and other oddsmakers for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

However, while the defending champions aren’t expected to find World Cup qualifying difficult, they will need to navigate their November fixtures without Manchester United superstar Paul Pogba, who has withdrawn from the France national team after picking up a thigh injury.

The illustrious playmaker felt discomfort in his right thigh during Les Bleus’ training session on Monday and was seen leaving the training ground in the company of the team doctors.

The French football federation has confirmed that Pogba will miss the national team’s upcoming World Cup qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Finland.

In a statement released on Twitter, they stated: “The victim of an injury to the quadriceps of the right thigh, Paul Pogba is forced to miss the next two matches.”

Per The Athletic, the Red Devils midfield dynamo could remain on the sidelines until next year, which might cause a sizeable headache to Ole Gunner SolskjaerSolskjaer.

Man United went into the international break amid a rough patch, having lost four of their last six Premier League fixtures, including a 2-0 defeat to fierce rivals Manchester City over the weekend.

A series of underwhelming results has seen the three-time European champions slide to sixth in the standings as the pressure ramps up on the Norwegian manager.

Misfortunes never come alone. Pogba’s injury comes at the worst possible moment for Solskjaer, who is fighting tooth and nail to preserve his job.

Despite the 28-year-old’s topsy-turvy beginning of the season, he remains one of United’s most creative players alongside the Portuguese ace Bruno Fernandes.

When fit and firing, Pogba is probably one of the finest playmakers in Europe, let alone the Premier League, and his absence could be a massive blow to the Red Devils’ hopes of returning in contention for a top-four finish.

The Frenchman has got his 2021/22 season off to a flying start, delivering four assists in United’s 5-1 drubbing of Leeds United at Old Trafford on the opening Premier League weekend.

He has since recorded three assists in his subsequent eight Premier League appearances en route to establishing himself as United’s driving force in the midfield.

Pogba’s ability to hold onto the ball under pressure and distribute it around the pitch with pinpoint accuracy makes him invaluable to Solskjaer’s tactical set-up.

Though consistency and work ethic have never been his strong suit, the World Cup winner’s qualities on the ball will be hard to replace.

Yet, this could be a perfect opportunity for Solskjaer to throw the out-of-favour midfielder Donny van de Beek into the mix to fill the void left by Pogba’s injury.

The Dutchman has often been overlooked by the gaffer since completing his £35m arrival from Ajax in the summer of 2020.

Van de Beek has tumbled down the pecking order at Old Trafford, registering just 16 minutes of top-flight football this term.

With Scott McTominay, Nemanja Matic and Fred all underperforming in the early exchanges this season, the 24-year-old could stake his claim for a place in the starting XI now that Pogba is out of the picture.

The Frenchman is in the midst of a three-match ban in the Premier League after receiving his marching orders in a 5-0 thumping at the hands of Liverpool a fortnight ago.

Therefore, he would have been unable to help his United teammates until December, even if it wasn’t for this injury.

However, it remains to be seen how Pogba’s lengthy spell on the sidelines will affect his contractual situation at the Theatre of Dreams.

The former Juventus star has less than a year left to run on his current contract and will be able to negotiate personal terms with foreign clubs from January.

Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola has so far played hardball with United over his client’s potential extension, obstructing every Red Devils’ attempt to tie the midfielder down to a new deal.

Indeed, the so-called super-agent seems hell-bent on taking United’s most expensive signing abroad come the summer of 2022, with Real Madrid and Juventus emerging as Pogba’s potential landing spots.

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