James Garner

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Report: Man United shuts door on Pogba departure

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If the latest reports are to be believed, Paul Pogba is staying for at least another few months in Manchester.

Despite dropping hints through media interviews and his agent, Mino Raiola, that he wanted to leave Old Trafford this summer, Paul Pogba won’t be allowed to leave this window, according to a report from the Telegraph. It states that with the close of the Premier League transfer window, Pogba opportunity to leave is closed, at least until January or next summer.

[READ: Report: Eriksen turns down new Spurs offer]

Pogba is coming off a wild last 12 months. He went from winning the World Cup with France to re-joining his Man United teammates under Jose Mourinho. The pair famously feuded and Mourinho clearly lost his touch with the squad, leading to his dismissal and the introduction of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. All the while Pogba had an up and down season, but for a time in February and March, he was one of the best players in the Premier League. However, the lack of a summer break last year caught up with him, and his performances suffered late in the season.

Heading into this year, it appeared that Pogba was hoping to move, especially reportedly to play for his idol, Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid. However, Pogba signed a five-year contract with an option year when he re-joined the club in 2016. Ultimately, it seems that Pogba is much too valuable to Man United’s fortunes this season, especially if he were to leave for Real Madrid or even Juventus after the Premier League window is closed.

Pogba is going to be counted on by Solskjaer to be a key member of the squad this season. Nemanja Matic appears to be on the way down after a tremendous career in England, while Scott McTominay, Fred, James Garner and Angel Gomes all are in need of experience in top games. Based on Pogba’s assists against Chelsea, the club’s fortunes clearly rest on his outstanding talent. It’s now up to Pogba to put his head down, and keep his eye on leaving for next year.

Solskjaer: ‘We just need consistency’

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In a vague, general word, Manchester United manager knows exactly what his club have been missing. Consistency.

More specifically, consistent success.

In a sit-down interview with the BBC, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer mentioned striving for consistency in performances on no less than four occasions, including when speaking about Alexis Sanchez. Man United won eight straight matches in all competitions and 10 of its first 11 under the Norwegian manager.

[READ: De Ligt lands in Turin ahead of Juventus move]

And yet, the consistency wasn’t there late in the season, when Man United faltered down the stretch and won just two of its last ten matches to close the season on a sour note. Man United finished in sixth place, and while Solskjaer said he believed it would be a challenge to break into the top four, he said with some consistent performances, Man United could achieve its goals.

“We have to aim for further up than fourth,” Solskjaer told the BBC. “I would rather be an optimist and be wrong than a pessimist and be right. I am not used to us being fifth or sixth but that is where we are at. That is the size of the challenge. I love that challenge.

“We have to work with the players, sign the right types and gradually make our way to the challenging line. Our players do have quality. They do have a chance. We just need consistency. We have to keep working every single day and not take our eyes off the target. Everyone gets off line at some point but you can’t let it drift too far because then you won’t get to the overall goal.”

Some Man United fans have been mumbling and rumbling due to the slow start in this summer’s transfer window. Ander Herrera and Antonio Valencia have both departed on free transfers, while only Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka have come in. While it’s not the improvements some fans were hoping for, it’s helped give some of the young players, like James Garner, Tahith Chong, Angel Gomes and Mason Greenword, some hope that they can get minutes.

Perhaps the push from the young players for first team minutes will make Man United a bit more competitive in training again, which can only help in terms of having success on the field.

The big question remains, which Man United team will we see this season. The one from Solskjaer’s first two months on the job, or the one from his last six weeks.

Premier League Friendly Roundup: Chelsea, Man United win

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A handful of Premier League teams were in action on Saturday as preseason training ramps up. While many clubs are on the way to East Asia and North America, those who weren’t took part in a few matches in Europe.

The headliner was Chelsea topping St. Patrick’s Athletic, 4-0, at Richmond Park in Dublin. Olivier Giroud scored a brace, while Mason Mount and Emerson added goals as well.

It was Chelsea’s second game of the preseason and second under the watchful eye of Frank Lampard. Chelsea made wholesale changes at halftime, as all 22 players who took part each played just 45 minutes as the team grows in match fitness.

[READ: Transfer Rumor Roundup]

Earlier in the day, in Australia, Manchester United defeated Perth Glory, 2-0, with goals from Marcus Rashford and James Garner. Read more about it on PST.

Elsewhere, Brighton defeated FC Liefering while in Austria, 5-2. Lewis Dunk, the immortal Glenn Murray, Jurgen Locadia, Leandro Trossard and Florin Andone all scored for the Premier League side. Brighton’s Graham Potter also made 11 changes at halftime, giving everyone a chance to make a good impression in front of him.

Pogba sets up Rashford in Man United’s win in Australia

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PERTH, Australia (AP) Unsettled Paul Pogba provided the backheel flick for England striker Marcus Rashford to score in Manchester United’s 2-0 win over the A-League’s Perth Glory on Saturday at Perth Stadium.

[ MORE: Saturday’s transfer rumor roundup | Friday | Thursday ]

With his back to the goal in the 60th minute, Rashford took Pogba’s pass, swiveled and lashed a left-footed shot into the bottom corner of the Perth net.

Midfielder James Garner, who had been on the pitch for only a minute, scored United’s second goal in the 85th on a long-range volley after a mix-up in the Perth defense.

After a scoreless first half, Rashford and Pogba were two of 11 changes for United at the start of the second. Pogba’s future with the club has been the subject of much speculation after saying that he wants to play elsewhere in Europe next season despite having two years left on his contract.

[ MORE: Matthijs de Ligt left off Ajax roster for start of preseason ]

Daniel James started for the visitors but fellow summer signing and right back Aaron Wan-Bissaka was on the bench until halftime.

Romelu Lukaku and Victor Lindelof were not included in the lineup.

United is in Perth for 10 days and two matches. Its second match is next Wednesday against Leeds at the same Perth Stadium.