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Former England striker: "Manchester United need Pogba to challenge City"

Former Tottenham Hotspir, Sunderland and Aston Villa striker Darren Bent believes that Manchester United must retain Paul Pogba in order to challenge Manchester City this season. The Frenchman, who has been the subject of much discussion in the two years following his £89m move from Juventus, was instrumental in United’s 2-3 victory at the Etihad Stadium in April, and Bent believes that keeping hold of Pogba is essential for any title challenge United will be able to muster.

“Pogba makes teams tick and I think you need him at his best for Manchester United to get close to Manchester City. We saw in the game last season when City had it their own way for the first half and were 2-0 up,” said Bent to Sky Sports. “Manchester United came out in the second half and showed what they’re made of. In that game it was all about Paul Pogba and he will be key this season.”

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Elsewhere, Jose Mourinho has insisted that Pogba will retain the captain’s armband this weekend as United travel to the south coast to face Brighton & Hove Albion on Sunday afternoon, and is confident that the Frenchman will perform well in the role once again.

“I am very confident but if he doesn’t that’s football,” said Mourinho in quotes carried by The Guardian. “If he doesn’t that’s football. If his objective is to play for the team, for the fans, if this is the objective – he has the right of a bad match, everybody has a bad day and has little ups and downs in the performance level.

“Going back to the question is he the captain? No. Antonio Valencia [is]. Last season we thought he should before the game against Basel [in November]. We thought young guy but good personality, made in the academy, normally a starting line-up player – he has conditions to be captain in the future, and in the [thinking] of this he was the captain and will be the captain again. But when Antonio comes back he will be the captain.”

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By Kevin T

Kevin Thatcher is a freelance journalist who's work has featured in various national and international publications, including Mail Online & The Mirror. Kevin has been a Manchester United season ticket holder in South Stand for many years, and writes for RedMancunian to combine both his love for writing, and club.