By Joe Ridge for MailOnline
Published: 11:11 GMT, 1 December 2019 | Updated: 11:11 GMT, 1 December 2019
When Manchester United embarked on a blistering run of form midway through last season which earned caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer the permanent job, they did so with a midfield trio of Ander Herrera, Nemanja Matic and Paul Pogba.
The combination of energy, steel and flair had United looking like the title challengers they were supposed to have been under Jose Mourinho, even if only for a couple of months.
Less than a year on, and a rudderless midfield has once again become symbolic of United's post-Sir Alex Ferguson struggles. Herrera was allowed to leave on a free for Paris Saint-Germain in the summer, Pogba is injured and Matic has become the forgotten man.
Nemanja Matic pictured leaving Manchester United training on Wednesday afternoon
Like Pogba, the Serbian has been struggling with injury, though there seems little urgency from either the player or the club to solve a mystery groin problem.
Instead, United have been struggling on with a midfield of Fred and Andreas Pereira, who were bullied by Sheffield United in last Sunday's 3-3 draw.
Watching that, United were crying out for Matic's giant presence and composure on the ball. He was very poor in September's abject defeat at West Ham - his last Premier League appearance - but so were the whole team.
Instead, the 31-year-old has been making headlines