Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho praised Paul Pogba for “putting himself forward for the team” after he captained the side and scored the opening goal in the win over Leicester City on the first day of the Premier League season.
Pogba – linked with Barcelona this summer – was a surprise starter only four days after his return to training, having won the World Cup with France just under a month ago.
The hosts made a flying start at Old Trafford, winning a penalty in the second minute when Daniel Amartey handled Alexis Sanchez’s deflected shot.
Pogba stepped up and, after a typically nonchalant slow run-up, placed the ball in the top-right corner above Kasper Schmeichel.
Left-back Luke Shaw then scored the first senior goal of his career after controlling Juan Mata’s aerial pass to double their lead.
Substitute Jamie Vardy headed a late consolation for Leicester after Ricardo Perreira’s cross had hit a post, and Foxes goalkeeper Schmeichel came forward for an injury-time corner but his header went wide.
Pogba lasted 84 minutes before being replaced by Marouane Fellaini, but Mourinho said he did not expect the Frenchman to play for so long.
“We thought maximum 60 minutes but he managed over 80,” said the United boss. “The decision belonged to Paul. I asked him and he made himself available and he was very good.