Manchester United (15/8 to finish in top four) interim boss Ralf Rangnick has confirmed midfielder Paul Pogba is back in training and could make his first-team return early next month.

France international Pogba has not featured in a United shirt since the 2-2 Champions League draw with Atalanta on November 2, initially missing the subsequent derby defeat to Manchester City through suspension before picking up a thigh injury while away representing his country.

A lot has changed at Old Trafford over the intervening period, with former United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer having been relieved of his duties and replaced by Rangnick on an interim basis until the summer.

United have also slipped five points off the pace in the race for a top-four finish in the Premier League, although they will have an opportunity to reduce that deficit when they visit Brentford on Wednesday night (Brentford 7/2, Draw 13/5, Man United 5/6 – Match Result).

Pogba will not be considered for that match, as he has only just made his return to training, while Rangnick has also ruled the 28-year-old out of Saturday’s home clash with top-four rivals West Ham United.

He could, though, make his comeback in the FA Cup fourth round clash with Middlesbrough on February 4.

“Paul Pogba had his first day of training with the whole group yesterday,” said Rangnick, who also confirmed Cristiano Ronaldo and Marcus Rashford are in contention to face Brentford.

“He showed what kind of extraordinary player he can be.

“He will not be available for the two games this week, but hopefully after the break when we have the cup game against Middlesbrough and the away game at Burnley, I think he could be an option.”

Pogba’s future at Old Trafford remains up in the air, with the midfielder’s contract set to expire in the summer amid continued reports linking him with moves to the likes of Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain and former club Juventus.

Contract talks are said to be ongoing, but Rangnick could not offer a further update, although he is excited by the impact the returning midfielder could have over the second half of the season.

“What I saw in training was very promising for the future, and I am very much looking forward to having him available,” the German added.

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