Tony Cascarino: Jose Mourinho needs to show Paul Pogba he’s droppable

by Tanveer Arayan

Former Republic of Ireland striker Tony Cascarino has called on Jose Mourinho to show Paul Pogba that he is droppable at Manchester United.

The Frenchman, who arrived at Old Trafford over the summer for a world record £89m fee, has featured in 38 of the 44 games played by Man United this season.

He endured a difficult start to life under Mourinho, clearly inundated by his enormous price tag, but has notably improved ever since being placed alongside Michael Carrick and Ander Herrera.

However Cascarino, speaking earlier this week, has noted that Pogba would improve if he felt as if his place in the starting XI was not guaranteed.

“There are certain players who are never taken off by managers regardless of how they are playing,” he said.

“Zlatan Ibrahimovic didn’t have his best game against Bournemouth and Paul Pogba, not for the first time this season, was struggling to influence the game.

“But you knew Jose Mourinho wouldn’t take them off. It’s always the same players who get taken off.

“For the likes of Wayne Rooney, taken off after 70 minutes on Saturday, and Juan Mata and Anthony Martial it can affect your confidence.”

“Not enough substitutions are made on a case by case basis.

“If they were, Pogba should have been taken off against Bournemouth and also earlier in the season when he gave away a penalty and looked poor in United’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool.

“Pogba might be Mourinho’s record signing and a talented player but he needs to know he’s not invincible.”

The likes of Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Anthony Martial and – judging by his strong display against AFC Bournemouth – Luke Shaw have undoubtedly benefitted from spending time on the bench and being forced to demonstrate their mettle in training. But I would argue that, in Pogba’s case, the dynamic is different.

This is because Mourinho bought him for a specific purpose: to function as the side’s midfield nucleus, dictating the overall tempo moving forward with his own approach, driving forward and getting the ball moving. It is no coincidence that United’s best performances this season have come when Pogba has also been at his best; United’s worst performances, in turn, have come when the Frenchman has struggled.

The process of endearing Pogba to this side, then, is not necessarily one of perfection but amalgamation, with perfection personified instead in now United operate as a collective. With this in mind, it only really makes sense to hand Pogba as much time on the pitch as possible.

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