Paul Pogba believes that Nemanja Matic’s presence at the base of midfield next season will help to give him more freedom further up the pitch.
The Frenchman returned to Old Trafford last summer for a world record £89m fee but, with Michael Carrick not playing during the early stages of the season, struggled with balancing his defensive duties and creating impetus moving forward.
But Matic’s £40m arrival from Chelsea last week, as seen against Sampdoria, has given Pogba a sturdier platform from which to launch attacks moving forward.
And the 24-year-old, when asked during a Twitter Q&A about Matic’s role, noted that, while it depends on how Mourinho sets up next season, the Serbian’s presence would serve as an important boost.
I think so but it will depend on the tactics of the coach
— Paul Pogba (@paulpogba) August 5, 2017
The fact that United have shelled out £40m on a player to get more out of Pogba shows that the Frenchman has fundamentally underperformed at Old Trafford so far. That is an argument many rival fans have put to me in recent times.
This is a terrible argument. The footballing world takes one look at Pogba’s £89m price tag and blames him for not being able to do everything on his own.
Do they not realise that football is a team game? Are they not aware of how any player’s quality is essentially defined by those around him? As English football fans we are obsessed with a ‘Roy of the Rovers’ rhetoric; the idea of one player taking on the world appeals to us, but such a route to victory belongs to fiction and nowhere else.
In football, and in life, we have to conceptualise things dialectically – as a constant response to given phenomena – and Matic’s arrival, therefore, is not an admission of Pogba’s ineptitude, but rather a step further towards replicating the unbeatable mould formed at Juventus when the Frenchman, with either Claudio Marchiso and Andrea Pirlo (or Blaise Matuidi for France) sitting behind him, wreaked absolute havoc moving forward.