Paul Pogba is at the heart of Manchester United’s long-terms plans. There’s no question about that.
His £89 million arrival from Juventus last summer was a statement of intent that the Red Devils plan to rebuild a dominant title-winning team in the post-Sir Alex Ferguson era with the France midfield central to their ideas.
But with the 24-year-old having failed to live up to his world-record transfer fee as of yet, there was bound to be plenty of scrutiny – both on and off the field.
SIGN UP NOW
Want to become a GMS writer? Sign up now and submit a 250-word test article: http://gms.to/haveyoursay4
And to Pogba’s downfall, his love of social media certainly hasn’t helped him in his bid to lift the pressure off his shoulders since his return to Old Trafford.
United legend Rio Ferdinand has already criticised Pogba this season, along with teammate Jesse Lingard, for an Instagram post of the pair dancing in the club’s empty training ground dressing room while both have been struggling to deliver consistent performances.
And that post is an example of what the former Manchester United full-back Patrice Evra doesn’t want to see, and wants to ensure his France and former Red Devils teammate doesn’t put his image before football.
“If he has a bad game, people criticise him for what he does on social media or his haircuts, but he won’t change. He thinks for himself and acts for himself,” Evra told FourFourTwo, per Goal.
The 35-year-old has a rather strong social media presence himself, producing some entertaining videos on Instagram that have had his fans in stitches from time to time.
But that is fine for a man who has already proven himself – having won five Premier League titles, three League Cups and the Champions League during his time at United.
Evra wary of Beckham likeness
However, for Pogba, the 24-year-old can’t afford to rest on his laurels and Evra believes his compatriot must do all he can to avoid gaining the same reputation David Beckham gained during his time at Old Trafford.
The legendary United figure was accused of putting his image – including his frequent change in hairstyles – and marketing opportunities before his football. And he was eventually sold by then boss Ferguson to United.
For sure, that has in turn set himself and his family up for life, but Evra has admitted his concerns that he feels fans are wishing him to become more like the England legend, so they can criticise Pogba in the same way.
“I don’t want his image coming before his football,” Evra continued. “And although I’m not worried that will happen, I’m scared other people hope it does so they can criticise him like they did with David Beckham.”
Pogba has netted just seven times this season, although he has struck up a great on-field relationship with fellow summer arrival Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
But before the next time he picks up his phone to post on Instagram or Twitter, he may well think carefully about his France teammate’s words.
Evra added: “Paul is like a brother to me and I want the best for him.”