London — Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba is using the coronavirus lockdown to step up his return to fitness after an injury-plagued season.
Pogba had made just eight appearances for United this season before the health crisis forced the suspension of the Premier League in March.
The French World Cup winner has not played a single match in 2020 due to his persistent ankle problems. His last appearance came in a December 26 win over Newcastle. But Pogba has been keeping fit during the virus break and hopes to be ready if the Premier League can return in the European summer.
“I have a little home gym in my house,” Pogba told United’s website. “I can do some training, some running, some bike, go outside and do some things with the ball. I am just keeping busy and keeping healthy.
“We have got to stay motivated, there is no other choice. It is a period and we don’t know until when it will be like this, but I still have goals in my head and one day hopefully this [pandemic] will stop. And then we have to get back on the pitch, so we have to be ready. For myself, I have been out for a long time as well, so for me I just want to come back playing football.”
Pogba, 27, has been in regular contact with his United teammates during the lockdown as they follow the club’s fitness regime from home.
Linked with a move away from fifth-placed United earlier this season, Pogba’s presence would boost their bid for Champions League qualification if matches can be played again eventually.
“My advice first of all is to stay safe, stay at home and keep practising,” Pogba said. “There is always a way to work, you can work with anything you have at home, you can still do sit-ups, push-ups.”