Paul Pogba of Manchester United and Adam Forshaw of Leeds in action during a pre-season friendly match between Manchester United and Leeds United in Perth, Australia, July 17 2019. Picture: PAUL KANE/GETTY IMAGES
Paul Pogba of Manchester United and Adam Forshaw of Leeds in action during a pre-season friendly match between Manchester United and Leeds United in Perth, Australia, July 17 2019. Picture: PAUL KANE/GETTY IMAGES

Perth — Paul Pogba shone on Wednesday as an under pressure Manchester United stepped up their pre-season campaign with a 4-0 thrashing of old rivals Leeds.

United had faced criticism after an unconvincing 2-0 victory over a depleted Perth Glory at the weekend. In a much-needed tonic, the Red Devils clinically dismantled Leeds, who have high hopes of returning to the English Premier League for the first time since 2004.

Pogba, who has been linked with a move to Juventus and Real Madrid, starred in United’s dominant first-half and was part of a pretty chain of passing to set up 17-year-old Mason Greenwood’s first senior goal in the seventh minute.

Moments later, a powerful strike from the French midfielder was well saved by goalkeeper Kiko Casilla.

But it was only a matter of time before United broke through with a moment of magic in the 27th minute from Marcus Rashford, a livewire in the first half. After a wondrous dribble past the lead-foot defence, the 21-year-old expertly tapped it past Casilla.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer changed his entire lineup at half-time in a repeat of Saturday’s match against Perth.

United continued to dictate, with Phil Jones scoring a thumping header from a corner kick in the 51st minute.

Anthony Martial rounded out a spectacular performance in the 68th minute by converting a penalty after Tahith Chong was taken down in the box.

The first clash in eight years between the one-time bitter enemies fizzled out, but a near capacity Perth Stadium crowd of 55,000 underlined the stature of the rivalry.

Romelu Lukaku was once again absent, fuelling speculation he had been dropped from the squad amid reports he was close to securing a move to Inter Milan. Illness kept out goalkeeper David de Gea, who is reportedly close to signing a new five-year deal with United in excess of £350,000 a week.

AFP