Paul Ince: Jose Mourinho should play Paul Pogba in a more advanced role

by Leo Nieboer


Former Manchester United midfielder Paul Ince believes Jose Mourinho should deploy Paul Pogba in a more advanced role at Manchester United.

The Frenchman was utilised in the No.10 role against Liverpool and linked up nicely with Zlatan Ibrahimovic at times, but was largely on the periphery of proceedings.

His best performances in a red shirt – against the likes of Leicester City and Fenerbahce – have come when playing from deep, with a more defensively orientated midfielder alongside him.

Nevertheless, Ince has declared the 23-year-old would be better suited to a role higher up the pitch.

“I think he has to play more advanced,” he said.

“When you look at how he played at Juventus, he played in a 3-5-2 system which allowed him to go and play where he wanted to. Most of his play was on the left-hand side.

“But in this team, as long as he’s got the protection behind with a Herrera or a Fellaini, then I think he should be able to wander anywhere he wants, around Ibrahimovic. Not just in a central position.

“It was great to see him score the other day. He’s still learning – potentially he could be a great, great player. That’s why they spent so much money for him.”

Playing Pogba further forward does, of course, enable a greater level of involvement in attacking movements, giving the Frenchman a chance to link-up with the likes of Ibrahimovic and Marcus Rashford.

That said, moving the 23-year-old forward in such a way betrays the reason behind why Mourinho brought him to Old Trafford: namely to be at the heart of everything, the side’s honorary nucleus, acting as the mediator between defence and attack. Deployed alongside – or just in front of – the likes of Ander Herrera and Michael Carrick, Pogba forms the axis of this United side, rampaging forward at will and spraying passes all over the pitch.

This, I believe, is Pogba’s stated function under Mourinho, and it worked wonderfully against Fenerbahce.

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