Will Paul Pogba replace Michael Carrick as Manchester United’s club captain.

With his chest puffed out, Paul Pogba emerged with the captain’s armband when Manchester United returned to the field following the interval of Sunday night’s pre-season clash with Norwegian side Valerenga in Oslo.

Michael Carrick, who was confirmed as United’s new skipper towards the start of last month, started the friendly, but the experienced midfielder was withdrawn at the break, and the honour bestowed to Pogba.

Officially, there is not a vice captain at Man United this season, Mourinho confirmed as much during the club’s pre-season tour of the United States.

“We don’t have a vice captain, a captain is enough. Michael is obviously the captain and when Michael is not on the pitch somebody will take the armband but Michael is still the captain,” Mourinho revealed.

Antonio Valencia and Marouane Fellaini both sported the armband in the latter stages of last season as Wayne Rooney’s time at the club came to an end, while popular Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera has been tipped as a future leader of the Red Devils. Pogba is the man being pushed forward, however, with Mourinho making a number of important points over the last few weeks.

Some have been indirect, some not so much. Following the team’s 1-0 defeat to Barcelona last week, Mourinho was keen to stress that the 24-year-old was now at the same level as the likes of Lionel Messi and Neymar.

“It is beautiful to see a few guys, their relation with the ball. But I have to say one of my players today Paul Pogba showed the level and he shows that he belongs to that level,” Mourinho stressed.

Pogba was Manchester United’s best player against Barcelona, and despite failing to impress a number of people last season, there is an argument to suggest that the midfielder was the club’s leading light for long spells of the 2016-17 campaign. Indeed, he played more minutes than any of his teammates last season.

The Frenchman scored nine times in 51 appearances for Man United last term – creating 87 chances, in addition to boasting a passing accuracy of 84.5% – and that was after being thrown into action having not gone through pre-season with the club that he left for Juventus in 2012.

It feels different this time around though, and there is no question that Pogba is emerging into a leader for Man United. Right now, that does not have to be at the expense of Carrick, or indeed only occur on the field of play.

Instead, Pogba is developing into a leading voice at the club. Far from the snarling style of Roy Keane, the midfielder has a softer tone. He has the respect of his teammates and plays the game with a smile on his face.

The heartbeat of not only the team, but the dressing room as well, Pogba played a key role in close friend Romelu Lukaku moving to Old Trafford in this summer’s transfer window. Plenty was made of Pogba’s £89m return to Man United in August 2016, but with prices in this erratic market on the rise, that figure could turn out to be money well spent.

Carrick will surely retire at the end of next season, and although the likes of Herrera and Valencia have strong cases to be considered, Pogba is emerging as the straightforward choice for Mourinho.

With Nemanja Matic now confirmed as a Man United player, there is every reason to believe that the Serbian will start in a three-man midfield alongside Herrera and Pogba on the opening weekend of the new Premier League season.

Carrick still has a role to play during the 2017-18 campaign, but he is not considered as a mainstay in this new and vibrant Mourinho team. It is likely that Mourinho will stick with his ‘no vice-captain’ line throughout the season, but if Pogba takes the armband for the visit of West Ham United on August 13, then surely the question will be answered.

“He’s certainly got the presence, character and belief to pull it off,” said Carrick when questioned on whether Pogba could skipper Man United in the future.

With his chest puffed out, Paul Pogba emerged with the captain’s armband when Manchester United returned to the field following the interval of Sunday night’s pre-season clash with Norwegian side Valerenga in Oslo.

Michael Carrick, who was confirmed as United’s new skipper towards the start of last month, started the friendly, but the experienced midfielder was withdrawn at the break, and the honour bestowed to Pogba.

Officially, there is not a vice captain at Man United this season, Mourinho confirmed as much during the club’s pre-season tour of the United States.

“We don’t have a vice captain, a captain is enough. Michael is obviously the captain and when Michael is not on the pitch somebody will take the armband but Michael is still the captain,” Mourinho revealed.

Antonio Valencia and Marouane Fellaini both sported the armband in the latter stages of last season as Wayne Rooney’s time at the club came to an end, while popular Spanish midfielder Ander Herrera has been tipped as a future leader of the Red Devils. Pogba is the man being pushed forward, however, with Mourinho making a number of important points over the last few weeks.

Some have been indirect, some not so much. Following the team’s 1-0 defeat to Barcelona last week, Mourinho was keen to stress that the 24-year-old was now at the same level as the likes of Lionel Messi and Neymar.

“It is beautiful to see a few guys, their relation with the ball. But I have to say one of my players today Paul Pogba showed the level and he shows that he belongs to that level,” Mourinho stressed.

Pogba was Manchester United’s best player against Barcelona, and despite failing to impress a number of people last season, there is an argument to suggest that the midfielder was the club’s leading light for long spells of the 2016-17 campaign. Indeed, he played more minutes than any of his teammates last season.

The Frenchman scored nine times in 51 appearances for Man United last term – creating 87 chances, in addition to boasting a passing accuracy of 84.5% – and that was after being thrown into action having not gone through pre-season with the club that he left for Juventus in 2012.

It feels different this time around though, and there is no question that Pogba is emerging into a leader for Man United. Right now, that does not have to be at the expense of Carrick, or indeed only occur on the field of play.

Instead, Pogba is developing into a leading voice at the club. Far from the snarling style of Roy Keane, the midfielder has a softer tone. He has the respect of his teammates and plays the game with a smile on his face.

The heartbeat of not only the team, but the dressing room as well, Pogba played a key role in close friend Romelu Lukaku moving to Old Trafford in this summer’s transfer window. Plenty was made of Pogba’s £89m return to Man United in August 2016, but with prices in this erratic market on the rise, that figure could turn out to be money well spent.

Carrick will surely retire at the end of next season, and although the likes of Herrera and Valencia have strong cases to be considered, Pogba is emerging as the straightforward choice for Mourinho.

With Nemanja Matic now confirmed as a Man United player, there is every reason to believe that the Serbian will start in a three-man midfield alongside Herrera and Pogba on the opening weekend of the new Premier League season.

Carrick still has a role to play during the 2017-18 campaign, but he is not considered as a mainstay in this new and vibrant Mourinho team. It is likely that Mourinho will stick with his ‘no vice-captain’ line throughout the season, but if Pogba takes the armband for the visit of West Ham United on August 13, then surely the question will be answered.

“He’s certainly got the presence, character and belief to pull it off,” said Carrick when questioned on whether Pogba could skipper Man United in the future.

At the age of 24, Pogba could lead the Red Devils for the next 10 years. Once branded ‘the Pied Piper’ due to the respect he had among his peers in the academy, the sky is the limit for the club’s apparent second in command

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