Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has dropped a major hint that he’s considering making Paul Pogba the club’s next long-term captain.

“The decision is that in the Champions League we made Paul captain a couple of times when Michael (Carrick), (Antonio) Valencia, Zlatan (Ibrahimovic) and (Chris) Smalling were not playing,” Mourinho said after United’s 2-2 draw with Burnley.

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After Wayne Rooney departed Old Trafford for boyhood club Everton in the summer, Mourinho surprisingly made veteran midfielder Michael Carrick the club captain.

Carrick, however, has been kept out of action with heart problems this season, with Antonio Valencia being awarded the armband in the 36-year-old’s absence.

“Against Leicester we felt that it could be an extra motivation for him and that was it, there was no special decision. But maybe, because he’s a young guy and made in the club academy, he has the conditions to be captain in the future.”

At 36, it looks unlikely Carrick will be able to sustain the tempo required for a regular spot with the Red Devils and it remains to be seen whether the Premier League giants will offer him an extension as his current deal runs out in 2018.

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While Valencia (currently sidelined with a hamstring injury) has done a superb job in Carrick’s absence, the 32-year-old does not have too many top-flight seasons left in him and United may just sign a young right-back at the end of the current season.

Maverick striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is also unlikely to stay at the club for too long and while the 28-year-old Chris Smalling isn’t too old, the English defender is not a confirmed starter, while Pogba certainly is.

The 6’3 Pogba, is in his second stint with the Red Devils, having come through the ranks at the Untied Academy before departing for Serie A giants Juventus in search of regular first-team football in 2012.

After spending four trophy-laden seasons with the Bianconeri, where he transformed into a world-class prospect, Pogba came back to United for a then-world record fee of £89 million in 2016.

After a difficult first season, the flashy Frenchman has really come into his own and is widely regarded as one of the best central midfielders in the English top-flight. While the 24-year-old Frenchman has shone in 2017, the current campaign has not been ideal for the Red Devils collectively as they trail runaway leaders Manchester City by a mammoth 15 points at the top of the Premier League table.

Jose Mourinho’s men next face Southampton at home on Saturday and will look to get back to winning ways against the struggling Saints after back-to-back 2-2 draws in the league.