Paul Pogba was last night Left Out of Manchester United's Champions League lineup in Spain. Playing Sevilla in the round of 16, Jose Mourinho opted to go with a midfield trio of Andre Herrera, Scott McTominay, and Nemanja Matic. The decision has given fresh impetus to the rumors that Pogba may be on his way out of Old Trafford, after reports from French newspaper L'Equipe last week suggested that the Frenchman regretted his return to Manchester in August 2016.

Recurring trend

Pogba was also a notable omission from the team to play Huddersfield last weekend, with illness cited as the reason.

But with Mourinho no stranger to bizarre power-plays, the jury is out on whether there is something else going on behind the scenes in Old Trafford. All this comes after he was ignominiously hauled off after 66 minutes in the 1-0 upset at Newcastle. Pogba had just been beaten in the air by a relatively benign long ball set-piece which ended up leading to the Magpies' winner.

As it turns out, Mourinho's hand was forced by circumstance, with Herrera succumbing to injury after only 17 minutes in Seville. Pogba's number was called, and he belatedly took his place on the left-hand side of the midfield trio. While Manchester United was forced to dig in perhaps more than should have been the case, they held firm for a 0-0 draw; a solid result that they probably would have taken pre-kickoff.

But a professional, albeit somewhat laborsome job, won't cloak what seems like a widening chasm between manager and star man. Paul Pogba is a €105 million footballer sitting on the bench, his manager favoring little-known Scott McTimonay over the mercurial Frenchman.

Familiar ground for Mourinho

But, of course, this is hardly against the grain for The Special One.

While at Chelsea, Mourinho unceremoniously dumped two time Chelsea Player of the Year Juan Mata, with little explanation offered. While the diligent Mata has since worked his way back into the good books in the United side, Pogba's predicament shows no sign of abating. Mourinho was cryptic and reticent when asked by the press about any rift.

Pogba, for his part, has been quiet, but there's no smoke without fire, and the French reports last week certainly don't ease the nerves.

Pogba hasn't set the world alight since he returned from Turin, but he has been steady and is still only 24 years old. His talent is unquestioned, and he remains the only midfielder at the club who can single-handedly grab a game by the scruff of the neck. There are simply things he can do that others cannot, and on his day he is unplayable. One hopes this is merely Mourinho's way of trying to coax the best of this enigmatic midfielder, rather than a signal that he has given up on him. Let's not forget that Manchester United have given up on Paul Pogba once before, and it ended up costing them €105 million.