Paul Pogba, 27, has recently found much-needed form in a United shirt to help the Red Devils climb to the top of the league.
United currently sit 3 points ahead of Liverpool with a mouth-watering clash this Sunday. Most certainly United’s biggest game this season, a win will extend their lead over our bitter rivals.
Once a member of our prestigious academy, Pogba made only a few senior appearances after his graduation. He transferred to Italian giants Juventus where he exhibited his talent alongside the great midfielder Andrea Pirlo.
In four seasons in the Serie A, Pogba won 4 league titles, 2 domestic cups and a POTY award. He made 178 appearances in black and white, scoring 34 goals and providing 40 assists.
In 2016, he returned to Old Trafford for a (then) world-record fee of £89m. Since his return, he has made 184 appearances for United, recording 35 goals and 36 assists.
The Frenchman has had his career hampered by injuries. Suffering multiple ankle problems as well as muscle ruptures, he has missed out over 40 games for United.
As well as injuries, Pogba has faced huge ridicule from the media. Constantly barraged with criticism about his lack of work-ethic and how his price tag of £89m was completely over-priced.
His agent Mino Raiola has not helped his cause in the eyes of the media, the Italian has repeatdely stated Pogba is not happy, that United are not treating him well. Due to the face that he is constantly under the microscope, any mistakes he makes are amplified.
Although Pogba has often appeared lacklustre in a United shirt, he has also played some magnificent football matches. Yet all the media focus on is his poor attitude.
He often faces scrutiny because of his unbelievable potential. He showed his class at Juventus and has occasionally repeated this since his return to Old Trafford. However, he is simply not consistent enought to warrant praise every match.
It seemed very certain towards the end of 2020 that our number 6 would be on the move in the January transfer window. Speculation was wildly thrown about by pundits and journalists, assuming that “super-agent” Mino Raiola would draw him away from United.
Raiola stated: “I can say that it’s over for Paul Pogba at Manchester United … Paul is unhappy” (Mirror). He claimed the reasoning behind this was because Pogba was unable express himself on the pitch as much as he could.
The Frenchman seemingly contradicted Raiola’s statement, saying that he was “always happy when they win” (Sky Sports).
It was presumed that Pogba would make a return back to Turin, where his career kick-started. However, rumours surfaced about a career move to the French Capital, to the Parc-des-Princes. United fans will be well acquainted with PSG, making two superb come-back wins in the last 3 seasons.
Run of form
His MOTM performance against West Ham was his first exciting performance in a United shirt this campaign. A wonder strike from 25 yards gave United an equaliser against a strong West Ham side. He was the inspiration in that fixture, leading the second-half comeback charge, winning 3-1.
He can play in a holding-midfield role, attacking midfield, playmaker and also left-midfield. It is only recently that we have seen him pushed over to the left-hand side. The surplus of quality in midfield has made it difficult at times for him to play ahead of in-form Scott McTominay and Fred.
When Ole was asked about Pogba’s form, he replied: “he’s responded to the work we’ve done and you see the good performance. He’s a player who can do most of the things, he’s got all the attributes. I’m delighted with his performances.” (Skysports.com)
United will hope that Pogba will maintain his current run of form. We face Liverpool twice in one week, he will seemingly feature in at least one of these encounters.
Pogba brings great skill, strength and speed to Manchester United. A clip from the Burnley game shows his ability to shrug off midfielders and dribble past defenders with ease.
His ability in the air is extremely effective, especially against a team as physical as Burnley.
Winning the league requires a good squad, not just a starting XI. Although Pogba may not start every game, he will influential in those games he does play. There is brilliant competition in the United midfield, Scott McTominay, Fred, Bruno Fernandes, Donny Van de Beek and Nemanja Matic all offer different attributes.
Pogba certainly deserves a place in the United starting XI on his current form. If he is able to repeat his consistency that he has shown glimpses of in his career, he will be a dominating power in the league.
The Frenchman is a great influence in the dressing room, spurring on players and providing crucial experience for the younger players in the squad.
In Friday’s Press Conference Pogba was asked if United can win the league. He replied: “Can we win the Premier League? Yes, I think we can win it. If we keep the focus. There are a lot of teams who can win it too. We’re not there yet, we’re still very far – that’s what we have to put in our heads.” (Sky)