THERE was real shock among the Manchester United squad when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer announced Paul Pogba was off penalty duties.
Not that anyone in the Molineux dressing room on Monday night thought it was the wrong decision to give Marcus Rashford sole responsibility from the spot.
It was that boss Solskjaer had effectively brought Pogba down a peg or two.
Forget who wears the captain’s armband, the French World Cup winner is the biggest influence in the dressing room.
It was a big call to make in front of the rest of the players, but Solskjaer had been angered by the onfield indecision between Pogba and Rashford over who would take it.
As SunSport revealed yesterday, the Norwegian said they should have decided before the game who was going to be on duty.
Pogba’s subsequent miss — his fourth in nine Premier League kicks — cost United as they were held 1-1 at Wolves and he apologised to team-mates afterwards.
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But it is how he now reacts after being told he can no longer take penalties that is concerning team-mates, who are worried his head is not 100 per cent at Old Trafford.
The reason for that, of course, was his public statement at the start of the summer that he wanted a new challenge elsewhere.
To his credit, Pogba has committed himself to United since then.
He was even praised by Solskjaer during their pre-season tour for keeping his mind on the job at United, while Real Madrid’s unwanted public courting of him continued.
His performance in the opening 4-0 win against Chelsea suggested he was back on course, if not so much against Wolves.
What team-mates are now fearing is where Pogba’s head is at as the September 2 European transfer deadline approaches.
Can Solskjaer be certain he will still get the very best out of him?
United do not want to lose Pogba and it is why they have put such a high fee on his head of £180million.
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Real won’t pay that, nobody will pay that. So Pogba stays, but which Pogba stays?
The hope behind the scenes is that fellow Frenchman Anthony Martial could play a big part in keeping pal Pogba focused.
Pog remains well-liked in the whole dressing room. But three years after the academy graduate returned to Old Trafford, it remains to be seen whether he still considers it home.
This post written by Joshua Jones originally appeared on Football news - transfers, fixtures, scores, pictures | The Sun. Read the full post here.