Former Liverpool midfielder Jamie Redknapp has encouraged Jose Mourinho to change his side’s formation in order to accommodate Paul Pogba at Manchester United.
The 23-year-old, signed for a world record £89m fee last month, has been deployed as a deeper lying midfielder during his first five games.
However, following a series of muted performances in defeats to Manchester City, Feyenoord and Watford, various Man United fans have called for Mourinho to tweak the Frenchman’s position.
Writing for the Mail Online, Redknapp reflected these sentiments.
“He can play in a midfield two but it’s not his position,” Redknapp said.
“Playing him like this makes him a £20-30million player, but to get the full £89m-worth he must play further forward.
“There is no doubt United have signed a superb player and he will come good eventually, but Mourinho has got to adapt to him as much as Pogba has got to adapt to United.
“He’s got to change the system to get the best out of Pogba, otherwise he’ll get the hump, get his agent involved and then the ugly blame game begins.”
A brief look at Pogba’s former midfield partners – for both club and country – sheds light on how Frenchman, under Mourinho’s tutelage, can reach his full potential: what do, say, Claudio Marchisio, Andrea Pirlo and Blaise Matuidi all have in common? The main thing, I suppose, is an element of control; an ability to pick up the ball from deep and move it forward, acting as a necessary lynchpin.
Placed alongside this type of midfielder, Pogba, able to rampage forward and start attacks, reaches his devastating best and in Michael Carrick – an unyielding beacon of assurance and control in midfield, as shown against Northampton Town in the League Cup – the Frenchman has exactly that, meaning a fundamental formational change isn’t necessary when it comes to accommodating the 23-year-old but rather just a slight selectional tweak.