Graeme Souness has slammed Paul Pogba’s abilities as a footballer despite the Frenchman’s recent superb form for Manchester United that’s seen him tipped to be captain of the club in the near future.
The 24-year-old was arguably Man United’s most impressive payer of the season before picking up a long-term hamstring injury in mid-September that ruled him out until the Reds 4-1 win against Newcastle United on November 18. In that game on his return, Pogba scored and assisted in a phenomenal, Man of the Match performance.
Since, his form has continued, putting in a superb display against Arsenal in United’s ruthless 3-1 away win at the Emirates. Pogba was key in the Reds’ transition from defence to counter-attack, making Jesse Lingard’s second-half strike that took the game away from the Gunners. Souness, though, has questioned Pogba on a number of fronts. All are peculiar.
“He hasn’t got a basic understanding of his position, I can’t see that changing,” Souness claimed on TV3 in Ireland.
“Where I question him [on] whether he’ll ever be a top player is his understanding of the game.”
“He’s 24 years old, if he’s not got it now when is he gonna get it?”
“You learn this stuff from a youth level,” Souness reiterated, discussing Pogba’s failure to track back against CSKA Moscow in a 2-1 home win for United in the UEFA Champions League.
It appears that the idea that Pogba’s role is not to track back, and not to stay central constantly, and is to drift wide where his strength, pace and footwork make him a fearsome prospect, did not cross Souness’s mind.
Souness then insisted that Pogba “hasn’t taken a big game by the scruff of the neck and dominated it.”
Driving past two players, holding off Laurent Koscielny in the penalty area before crossing at a perfect height with a perfect weight for Lingard to tap-in to an empty net, that looked like taking a big game by the scruff of the neck to most people.
Pogba was dominant against Arsenal in as much as he could be, United looked a changed side compared to a draw away to Liverpool and loss away to Chelsea when Pogba had been missing. His impact is clear, Souness’ claims are perplexing. United fans, at least, know just how good Pogba is.