Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer says French midfielder Paul Pogba has been out of action for so long he faces a real challenge to get fully fit and back in the team.
Pogba, whose future at the club has been the subject of much speculation, is still recovering from an ankle injury that has restricted him to eight United appearances this season. He last featured in a 4-1 win over Newcastle United on Boxing Day.
"Paul knows he has to work hard to get back to his best," Solskjaer told British media. "He has been out now for so long now, it's a challenge to get back into shape."
Pogba was not part of the United group that spent the mid-season break at a training camp in Spain but Solskjaer confirmed the 26-year-old was given permission to do his recovery work somewhere else.
"He's taken off his cast and started running on the treadmill now, so he's getting closer," said the Norwegian.
When asked if Pogba would play for the club again he added: "Well of course, I'd like to say that as soon as he gets fit, he'll be good enough to play for the team. I'm sure Paul's desperate to play for us again."
United, who are ninth in the Premier League, trail fourth-placed Chelsea by six points with the clubs meeting at Stamford Bridge later on Monday.