Paul Pogba: France boss Didier Deschamps believes Manchester United midfielder is unhappy
Paul Pogba has started two of Manchester United’s last seven matches and been asked to fill in on the left-wing on occasion; Diddier Deschamps wants to talk to Pogba about his situation at Old Trafford when he is with the France squad during the international break
France boss Didier Deschamps says Paul Pogba “can’t be happy” being left on the bench and playing out of position at Manchester United.
Pogba has only started twice for United in the seven games since the 6-1 home defeat to Tottenham and, for brief spells toward the end of matches against Arsenal and Everton, has been asked to play on the left-wing.
United triggered a one-year extension in Pogba’s contract in October, but speculation about the midfielder’s future persists, with the Frenchman continuing to talk up a potential move to Real Madrid.
Deschamps knows the current situation will be a source of displeasure for Pogba and is keen to talk to the 27-year-old about it while he is away with France on international duty over the next few weeks.
“I know Paul well and he knows the squad well. He finds himself in a situation with his club that he can’t be happy about, neither in terms of his playing time nor his position,” Deschamps told France Football.
“He did well in the matches that he was involved in last month and performed consistently despite his lack of rhythm. Nevertheless, we can’t say that he’s blossoming at club level.
“There’s no problem with me, but I also work hard to manage him. When a player is unhappy at club level, of course he is happy to play for France. He will tell me about how he’s feeling and as I know him very well, things will go in a positive direction. It’s also his responsibility to put in a big effort.”
Phil Neville claims it is “absolutely disgraceful that Paul Pogba can’t get in that team” at Manchester United, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer told the Frenchman has to play in order for the Red Devils to be competitive.
The World Cup winner was back on the bench for a 3-1 win over Everton and he was only introduced eight minutes from the end at Goodison Park, with United once again looking to Bruno Fernandes for inspiration.
The expectation was that Pogba would be allowed to form a productive partnership with the Portuguese playmaker in the Old Trafford engine room.
That has not been the case, for a number of reasons, and questions continue to be asked of the 27-year-old’s value to the collective cause in Manchester.
Neville believes Pogba can be a star man for United, which was always the intention when he was snapped up from Juventus for £89 million ($117m) in 2016, with players such as him needing to be given the trust and freedom they require in order to express themselves and fulfil their undoubted potential.
“I still think it’s absolutely disgraceful that Pogba can’t get in that team,” Neville told Premier League Productions.
“For United to win a league, for United to be successful, for United to play the style of football that Ole wants them to play, then Pogba has to play.
“You can play one of them [Nemanja] Matic, Fred or [Scott] McTominay and then you play Pogba with Fernandes.”
Part of the problem for Pogba is that he wants to fill the same role as Fernandes.
Experiments have already been made when it comes to fielding him in slightly different positions, with Solskjaer even moving him into a wide attacking post at times.
Neville concedes that finding the right mix is proving difficult for United, with it unlikely that Pogba could slot into a deeper holding berth.
“Probably not, no, but I’d rather go out there and score goals, go out there and go for the win playing the Manchester United way with Pogba in the team,” added Neville.
“I know I’ve said about him wanting to leave, not wanting to be there and his inconsistencies but I still think he’s one of the best midfielders around.
“That’s why I’m thinking: Why is Paul Pogba not in that team?”
Pogba has reiterated his dream to play for Real Madrid at some stage in his career, despite seeing a contract extension triggered at United, and he appears set to dominate headlines for the foreseeable future – on and off the field.
WHO IS PAUL POGBA
Paul Labile Pogba (French pronunciation: [pɔl pɔgba]; born 15 March 1993) is a French professional footballer who plays for Premier League club Manchester United and the France national team. He operates primarily as a central midfielder, but can also be deployed as an attacking midfielder, defensive midfielder and deep-lying playmaker.
Born in Lagny-sur-Marne, Pogba joined the youth team of Ligue 1 side Le Havre in 2007, before a protracted transfer brought him to Manchester United two years later. After beginning his senior career with Manchester United two years later, limited appearances persuaded him to depart to join Italian side Juventus on a free transfer in 2012, where he helped the club to four consecutive Serie A titles, as well as two Coppa Italia and two Supercoppa Italiana titles. During his time in Italy, Pogba further established himself as one of the most promising young players in the world and received the Golden Boy award in 2013, followed by the Bravo Award in 2014. In 2016, Pogba was named to the 2015 UEFA Team of the Year, as well as the 2015 FIFA FIFPro World XI, after helping Juventus to the 2015 UEFA Champions League Final, their first in 12 years.
Pogba’s performances at Juventus led to him returning to Manchester United in 2016 for a then-world record transfer fee of €105 million (£89.3 million). The fee paid for him remains the highest paid by an English club. In his first season back, he won the League Cup and the Europa League. In the 2018–19 season, he was named to the PFA Team of the Year.
Internationally, he captained France to victory at the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup and took home the award for the Best Player for his performances during the tournament. He made his debut for the senior team a year later and featured prominently at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, where he was awarded the Best Young Player Award for his performances. He later represented his nation at UEFA Euro 2016 on home soil, where he finished as a runner-up, before winning the 2018 FIFA World Cup, scoring a goal in the final.