Ralf Rangnick said that Paul Pogba, midfield magician for Manchester United, could still be out of the team for six more weeks.
Pogba (28), has been out of action since injuring his thigh muscle while training with France ahead of the World Cup qualifier against Kazakhstan.
The World Cup winner was expected out of action for at least 10 weeks.
Rangnick said that Pogba had resumed light training at United and that Rangnick will not be able to match Pogba until next month.
Rangnick, interim boss, is disappointed by the news as he tries to salvage something from another disappointing Old Trafford season.
Rangnick’s side hosts Aston Villa in Monday night’s FA Cup third round. “A week ago I was told it would take another four or five weeks. I’ve seen him, but currently I don’t know how long it will take.
“He hasn’t yet joined the team to train. It will likely last for another three or four weeks according to medical records. However, if he is fit enough to train, that does not mean he’s also match fit.
“It will probably take a couple of weeks before he is really able to compete for the first team.”
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This season, the French dynamo has made just nine league appearances. United is clearly lacking a creative edge in attack after his absence.
Pogba’s future at Old Trafford is uncertain as several clubs are reportedly interested in signing him on free transfers.
United were reported by Silver Screen Beat on Friday to have offered the former Juventus talisman a whopping £400k-a-week contract to persuade him to stay beyond the summer.
It remains to see if he accepts their appealing offer or takes up a new challenge, after six years at the club.