What a turnaround for Paul Pogba in a Manchester United shirt. Six weeks ago, you’d have struggled to find United fans who wanted him to stay – or thought that he would remain at the club long term. Not now. There are echoes of Wayne Rooney in 2013 when he wanted to leave Old Trafford. Rooney got the fans back onside by being the stand-out player for six months and went on to become United’s all time leading goal scorer. Pogba is doing himself no harm with his performances and has scored two winners in away games in a week, but why? And how? Pogba isn’t yet a hero: shirts with his name on have long been eclipsed by more popular players, but while he’s rightly being praised, fans don’t want to be emotionally burned again by the Frenchman. His time at United has been a roller coaster: passages where he looks like a talismanic World Cup winner with more skill than any other player – set against months of injury or poor form. Now? An ankle injury hampered his 2020 and then he contracted Covid, which took him longer to recover from than he admitted at the time. Still a long way to go! Let’s keep it up boys!! pic.twitter.com/jnAMOJwwpj — Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) January 21, 2021 Pogba was dropped after three league games (and two defeats) at the start of the season and United became better without him, a point reinforced when he returned against Arsenal and United were again defeated. As United’s season got on its feet, Pogba didn’t feature against West Brom nor Southampton – two victories. Then he scored a wonder goal at West Ham and his agent came out agitating about his unhappiness. It looked like his agent had waited for him to do something decent so he could talk him up. It had been a long wait. The words of Pogba’s agent were unappreciated and untimely when they surfaced before a huge Champions League game. Did he want United to become so sick of him that they lowered his price just to get him out of Old Trafford after over four underwhelming years? Come for @ECavaniOfficial 's opener Stay for @PaulPogba 's winner ☄ #MUFC #FULMUN pic.twitter.com/oU3nf02arU — Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 21, 2021 His agent said the wrong thing at the wrong time and he knows it, but Pogba’s situation is now a simple one. When the 27-year-old is happy and fit and playing in a more attacking role he enjoys every week, he performs. When he’s not, he doesn’t. When he was moved around to accommodate other players his confidence was hit. Pogba was sold a dream when he joined United in 2016 which didn’t work out. The signings he hoped for didn’t arrive, his relationship with his manager Jose Mourinho was testy. The mistrust extends to the British media and he does little to get on better terms with them. His solace is in his family, especially since his father died and since he became a father himself. He became more focused, though that wasn’t always clear to see for those who paid his wages. Outside of family he’s very close to Thierry Henry and Patrice Evra. How about a word with tonight's matchwinner? Over to you, @PaulPogba #MUFC #⃣ #FULMUN #PL pic.twitter.com/TZLTT54mSC — Manchester United (@ManUtd) January 20, 2021 On the pitch, the dancing which irritates so many is his way of letting off steam. He’s done it since he was a kid with his brothers. Then, as now, he was ultra competitive. He’s got the Ronaldo gene of wanting to be the best at everything he does, be it table football, pool or tennis. He won’t quit until he wins or unless he feels like he’s given his best shot. It drives his family mad, but he takes his inspiration from his hero, Muhammed Ali, a fellow sportsman who converted to Islam. Pogba’s faith brings him peace amid the noise which surrounds him. He doesn’t touch alcohol and he now has a calm manager. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer also handles the noise well. Pogba has a deeper relationship with him than other coaches because the Norwegian has known him since Pogba moved to Manchester in 2009, when he’d walk around proud, polite and confident, whether he was at school or on the training pitch. How do you solve a problem like Paul Pogba? Frenchman’s desire to leave Manchester United likely to descend into summer-long transfer saga He didn’t speak English but applied himself quickly to it rather than making up his own language like Anderson or barely bothering like every Argentine who has played for United. Solskjaer is not only publicly supportive of Pogba and the pair have a genuinely positive relationship. Besides, what good could come for Manchester United from his manager talking him down? The not unnatural assumption that he wants to leave and is going to leave is the wrong one. Besides, Pogba hasn’t done enough in a United shirt to warrant Real Madrid planning their future around him, while neither Barça nor Madrid, where he wanted to go in 2016, have the money they once had. Pogba could run his contract down and leave on a free, just as David de Gea could’ve done. He too, saw that the grass wasn’t quite so green. But Pogba is far more inclined to stay if he’s happy. United have yet to talk contracts with him and that too is understandable, but United are a better attacking force with a fit and happy Pogba in the side. He loves playing with Bruno Fernandes and their play has shown signs of sparking – notably Brighton away last season. Individually, his three Premier League goals this season have all come from outside the area. They’ll be replayed a thousand times because they’re spectacular, but more important is the fact they all led to United winning games. Fulham was a winner. Burnley was a winner. West Ham was a leveller, a straightener after United had been floored by David Moyes’ side in the first half. Pogba is a long way from being a hero for most United fans. If he left tomorrow he’d be seen as underwhelming and overpriced in his time in Manchester, but he’s been a key player in the last month as United have climbed to the top of the Premier League. If United are to challenge for the league they need more of what we’re seeing from one of their biggest talents. Much more.