The wait to watch the new world's most expensive player make his debut might have been delayed by a week owing to a pesky suspension, but Paul Pogba is "ready to play" in the Manchester United vs Southampton Premier League match on Friday at Old Trafford.
Having started the new season with a professional 3-1 win over Bournemouth, Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho will target the perfect home start when the club host a Southampton side who have had a fair bit of success at Old Trafford in recent seasons.
While a loss at such an early part of the season will be far from a disaster, Mourinho will know the importance of three points at home, especially against a dangerous Southampton side, just to get that confidence of the squad up a little bit more.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic might have stolen the spotlight with a wonderful goal in the victory over Bournemouth last Sunday, but all the attention for this match will be on Pogba. The France international, who made a world record move from Juventus, is all set to make his Manchester United debut after re-signing with the club.
"He's ready to play," Mourinho told MUTV. The Portuguese also added while Pogba has not played a single preseason game or competitive match in the new season, the midfielder has had enough time in training to make an impact on Friday.
"We played against Leicester with players with less training than him and we look at that match as a way to improve them, to accelerate that process," Mourinho added. "With Paul, it's a bit of the same – not one single minute of any preseason match or friendly. but almost two weeks of work with us.
"Sometimes with the group, sometimes separately, and the condition is OK to play some minutes and to accelerate the process."
"Some minutes" suggests that Pogba will not start and will probably come on as a second half substitute. However, after a long running saga finally ended with the record transfer, most Manchester United fans will settle for even a few minutes from their new marquee signing.
Mourinho will also have the option of playing Chris Smalling in the Premier League game, with the defender returning from suspension, while Jesse Lingard has also been passed fit after missing the opener with a knock.
Southampton will want to pick up their first win of the season, after a 1-1 draw with Watford, and to help them in that regard, Jose Fonte could start. The centre-back came on from the bench in the opening match of the season, as Claude Puel held him back owing to his exertions with Portugal in Euro 2016. However, with another few days of training under his belt, Fonte, who has been linked with a move to Manchester United and Arsenal, could start. Ryan Bertrand, the left-back, however, is sidelined.
Expected starting XI: Manchester United: David De Gea; Antonio Valencia, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind, Luke Shaw; Marouane Fellaini, Ander Herrera; Juan Mata, Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial; Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Southampton: Fraser Forster; Cedric, Virgil Van Dijk, Jose Fonte, Matt Targett; Steven Davis, Oriol Romeu, James Ward-Prowse; Nathan Redmond, Shane Long, Dusan Tadic.