MANCHESTER, United Kingdom — Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho showed his faith in Paul Pogba by naming the midfielder captain for the Red Devils’ Premier League opener against Leicester on Friday.
Pogba had been linked with a move to Barcelona due to his frosty relationship with Mourinho, who dropped the French World Cup winner on numerous occasions last season.
Mourinho insisted on the eve of the season’s curtain raiser Pogba is happy at Old Trafford and, despite just returning to training on Monday after his exertions in helping Les Bleus win a second World Cup, Pogba has been handed the armband.
Mourinho has clashed with the United hierarchy in pre-season over their failure to sign another center-back with the Portuguese predicting a season of gloom for not strengthening his squad.
Victor Lindelof gets the nod alongside Eric Bailly at the heart of the United defense despite his late return to pre-season due to his commitments with World Cup quarterfinalist Sweden with Chris Smalling relegated to the bench.
Brazilian international Fred also makes his United debut in midfield, while Andreas Pereira makes just his second Premier League start.