Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic has returned to first-team training – but the big Swede is not ready for Sunday’s trip to Newcastle.
The 36-year-old is recovering impressively from a serious knee injury sustained in April after being handed a new one-year deal.
But he managed only seven appearances before suffering a complaint to the same knee.
Ibrahimovic is back in training having last featured on Boxing Day, but will remain on the sidelines this weekend – as will Eric Bailly (ankle), Daley Blind (ankle ligaments) and Marouane Fellaini (knee).
Paul Pogba is set to return to the starting line-up at St James’ Park after being dropped to the bench against Huddersfield last weekend following his poor display against Tottenham the week before.
United manager Jose Mourinho is bemused by the debate over how best to harness Pogba given the midfielder’s ‘complete’ game and almost unparalleled potential.
Expectations have been understandably high since the France international returned to Old Trafford for a then world-record fee in 2016.
And Pogba has largely lived up to the hype this term – his performance against Spurs at Wembley apart.
Mourinho praised the 24-year-old’s response and laughed off debate over his role, with United great and Wales boss Ryan Giggs this week suggesting he would be most effective in a three-man midfield alongside more defence-minded players.
“Paul had very professional behaviour and the week was not different to what Paul is every week,” the United boss said.
“Paul is a good professional, Paul works well, Paul likes to train.
“In relation to his best position, I had a few laughs over the past week because I heard, I watched, I had a chance to read a few things.
“But then so many opinions, and we are in a world of opinions, people can get a little bit confused but between me and Paul there is no confusion. He is a midfield player and that’s it.
“And a midfield player, it’s difficult to find a midfield player with more potential than Paul has because Paul has everything.”
Provisional United squad
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