Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has said record signing Paul Pogba will return to first-team training “next week” as he aims to come back from a long-term ankle injury.

Pogba, 26, hasn’t played since Boxing Day due to a lingering ankle complaint, accumulating only eight appearances in all competitions this term amid rumours he wants to leave Old Trafford.

Solskjaer told reporters on Wednesday: “Paul’s still working with the physios outside and he won’t be training with the first team until next week and then let’s see how long that will take, he needs time to get his football fitness back.”

The Red Devils are currently enjoying an eight-game unbeaten streak and have looked rejuvenated of late, particularly with January signing Bruno Fernandes contributing to the upturn in form.

There’s no guarantee Pogba will be welcomed straight back into the XI with Fernandes looking so promising in a similar role, often stationed in front of a midfield pivot comprising the likes of Fred, Nemanja Matic or Scott McTominay (who recently returned from a serious knee injury).

The 2018 World Cup-winner recently returned to United’s Carrington training ground where he was welcomed by Eric Bailly and another winter signing, Odion Ighalo, via broadcaster Deji Faremi:

Pogba rejoined United for $116 million (£89 million) in the summer of 2016 after he originally left the club on a free transfer four years prior, moving to Juventus shortly after.

The midfielder won’t be involved in United’s immediate schedule, though he could hope to be involved by the time they face LASK Linz in the second leg of their Europa League last-16 clash on March 19.