Man United's Paul Pogba vows to give it his all 'no matter what's going on'

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Jose Mourinho handed Paul Pogba the captain's armband.

Paul Pogba vowed to keep giving his all “no matter what’s going on” after his starring role in Manchester United‘s season-opening win over Leicester.

The midfielder, a World Cup winner with France, has been the subject of speculation in recent days concerning both a possible transfer to Barcelona and his relationship with manager Jose Mourinho.

He was handed the captain’s armband against the Foxes and set United on their way to a 2-1 victory with an early penalty – but appeared to allude to off-field issues in a post on his social media accounts after the game.

Pogba wrote: “I’ll always give my best to the fans and my teammates no matter what’s going on. #pogfeelings”.

While the Premier League transfer window closed on Thursday evening, clubs elsewhere in Europe can still buy players until the end of August and reports of a move to Barca have persisted.

Mourinho hailed Pogba’s “monster” performance after the game but also once more referenced United’s lack of signings this summer, saying: “I find myself with the market closed in a situation I did not think I would be in.”

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Below-par Harry Maguire vindicates Man United's decision to not shell out big transfer fee

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Maguire was disappointing against Manchester United.

Harry Maguire made an early return from his post-World Cup holiday to earn a place in Leicester City‘s starting XI for the opening fixture of the Premier League, against Manchester United.

Having been heavily linked with a move to Friday’s opponents during the transfer window, the 25-year-old had a chance to show United what they’d missed out on.

However, it was a below-par performance from the Englishman as Leicester lost 2-1 despite looking promising.

Here’s an in-depth analysis of his display.

KEY STATS

Goals – 0

Tackles – 0

Clearances – 3

Blocks – 0

Aerial duels won – 33%

Passing accuracy – 91%

30-SECOND REPORT

It was a quiet display from the defender. There was little he could have done for either United goal, and he stood up well to any United threat directly in his area.

He produced his usual composed passing, but none of the attacking forays he’s become known for, and he was well-marshalled by his United counterparts whenever Leicester had a set-piece.

Thus, his impact was minimised, and he looked short of the commanding defender he’s earned a reputation for being.

GOT RIGHT

Reading of the game – Maguire can always be counted on to read the game well, and he was at it again here as he was often in the right place at the right time to cut out United attacks.

Passing – His distribution is a key trait of Maguire’s game, and although he didn’t play any of the eye-catching passes he’s at times capable of, Maguire ensured Leicester stayed in control of possession when they were dominating the game.

GOT WRONG

For a player so strong in the air as well as in the tackle, those attributes were a little less apparent on Friday. Though he used his strength well when required, he won only one of his three aerial duels, and didn’t make a single tackle in the entire game, a shocking statistic.

He also rarely drove forward with the ball in his usual manner, even when Leicester were in the ascendancy, and thus wasn’t much of an attacking threat.

VERDICT

The commanding defender who became England’s new hero at the World Cup this summer was hardly seen in Manchester on Friday.

Though he was powerless to prevent the two goals and acquitted himself well otherwise, United’s board would have felt vindicated in deciding against spending £75million on him.

Given the reputation he’s earned over the last two seasons, and especially this summer, more is expected of Maguire now, and he didn’t live up to that in this game.

RATING – 6/10

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Jefferson Lerma almost ready for Bournemouth debut, but misses Premier League opener against Cardiff

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Jefferson Lerma battles with Dele Alli during Colombia's last 16 exit to England at the World Cup.

Jefferson Lerma insists he is almost ready for his Bournemouth debut, despite sitting out Saturday’s Premier League opener.

Colombia midfielder Lerma joined Bournemouth from Levante in a club-record £25million deal this week, but will miss the Cherries’ Dean Court clash with Cardiff this weekend.

Boss Eddie Howe has said record signing Lerma must go through a mini pre-season – that could take as long as a month – before being let loose on England’s top flight.

But Lerma believes he will be ready far sooner than that, targeting Bournemouth’s Premier League trip to West Ham on August 18 for a possible debut.

“I think I’ll be ready to play by the next game,” said Lerma, eyeing the Cherries’ trip to the London Stadium to make his first appearance in English football.

“It’s a big moment in my life to be here. I’m very excited, very happy.

“I’ve had one training session so far and I think I did well and impressed. I’ve spoken with the boss, so I’ll just carry on working hard to get my chance to play.

“I’m very passionate about the game and coming here. We’ll take it game by game and just keep trying to get better.”

Eddie Howe, Manager

Lerma has been compared to France World Cup-winner N’Golo Kante in terms of his game-breaking qualities. And the 23-year-old admitted he loves to win the ball and then launch fast breaks.

“I look up to try to counter-attack,” said Lerma. “I’m quite strong and recover the ball very well, and I’m a good passer of the ball.”

Bournemouth boss Howe will give Lerma as long as he needs to find full match fitness, remaining unfazed about when the record recruit will take to the field.

“Jefferson’s only had one training session with us,” said Howe, of Lerma.

“He’s come to us off the back of not training after the World Cup so that will be an issue for us, in the sense we’ve got to build up his fitness and help him acclimatise to the team and the squad.

“So there may be a period where people don’t see him, but we want to get him up to speed.

“I’m sure there’s other players who were at the World Cup who won’t play this weekend. The difficulty for us is that Jefferson just hasn’t trained.

“So to involve him ahead of players who have played a full pre-season would be foolish.

“So we’ve got to make sure that when J steps onto the field he’s ready to play at his best level, so we’ll do some work with him behind the scenes.

” We would never tell a player to miss the whole of pre-season then step up and play. It’s just not going to happen. So we’ll take our time with him and make sure he’s right.”

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