- Paul Pogba has only made eight appearances for Manchester United this season
- Jesse Lingard believes Pogba is still the club’s best player despite his problems
- England midfielder says the Frenchman is ‘always positive’ and has ‘good energy’
- United believe Bruno Fernandes could prove key in keeping Pogba long term
Paul Pogba, pictured in training earlier this week, has only played eight times this season
Jesse Lingard believes Pogba is the club’s best player despite his fitness issues this term
Lingard and Pogba pose with the FA Youth Cup after winning it with United back in 2011
Bruno Fernandes has hit the ground running at United but is yet to play alongside Pogba
Paul Pogba remains Manchester United’s best player despite barely featuring this season because of injury, according to Jesse Lingard.
The Frenchman has been plagued by fitness issues this term and has only appeared eight times in all competitions for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side.
Pogba’s long-term future at Old Trafford also remains up in the air, but Lingard insists that his qualities – both on and off the pitch – make him United’s standout star.
Asked who the club’s best player was, the England midfielder told Sky Sports: ‘I grew up with Paul and when he first came you could see the technical ability that he possessed at such a young age.
‘He’s gone on to win the World Cup and many trophies with Juventus and us. He’s the all-round player, the complete player. He’s always positive and has a good energy off the field. He’s humble and one of the best guys you could meet.
‘He’s always positive in the dressing room and picks the lads up when they’re down. That shows on the field as well.
‘It’s hard for the lads to get the ball off him because he’s so strong. He’s become the leader-type and has taken on that responsibility really well.’
Sportsmail revealed on Thursday that United believe Pogba’s mouthwatering midfield partnership with Bruno Fernandes will hold the key to his future.
Pogba and Fernandes are yet to play together because the Portuguese star’s arrival at Old Trafford coincided with the World Cup winner’s ankle injury.
The France star has now fully recovered and believes his pending combination with Fernandes can spark improvements for Solskjaer’s team.
Fernandes has had a major impact on United since his arrival from Sporting Lisbon in January and Pogba feels the his presence has helped the team gel.
Pogba’s existing deal expires at the end of next season but United have the option to extend his contract by 12 months.
The club are yet to activate the clause, which would prevent the possibility of Pogba signing a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club from January.
United, though, are expected to trigger the renewal at the end of the season even if it’s merely to protect his value.
And there is hope that Pogba’s relationship with Fernandes could even lead to the former Juventus star penning a long-term deal to stay at Old Trafford.