Two years since Paul Pogba returned to Manchester United from Juventus, we’re still talking about whether he has – or ever will – live up to his billing at Old Trafford.
In addition to his then world-record £89 million transfer fee, a lack of tactical chemistry with Jose Mourinho seems to have stifled his undoubted potential to be one of the best players in the world.
Pogba has operated in virtually every possible midfield role during two full seasons under the Portuguese boss, yet never looked truly comfortable nor capable of exerting his maximum influence.
The 25-year-old still has his best years ahead of him – and Red Devils legend Rio Ferdinand believes it’s his manager’s responsibility to get the best out of him while he can.
“That’s down to Mourinho to work that out. And I think that’s been the problem so far, they’ve not been able to work out what’s best for Paul Pogba in the Man United team,” Ferdinand said, per ESPN FC.
“Should he be playing in a more deeper, reserved position? Should he be playing on the edge of all the attacks, assisting, providing chances, etc? Where is he best in this team?”
It seems everyone has a different answer to that question.
However, for Pogba to fulfil his ambitions, Ferdinand thinks he must first focus on replicating something Cristiano Ronaldo did to accelerate his development at United.
“Listen, he’s got an ego, that’s not hard to see on social media, this boy’s got an ego, wants to be looked at and talked about as the best player. There’s a hunger and desire for that, with that comes a work ethic,” the 39-year-old said of Pogba.
“Cristiano came as what we called a show pony, all the stepovers, looking good for the fans.
“He left the best player in the world, who lived and died by the end product. Goals and assists.
“But that’s down to intelligence, [Ronaldo] worked it out, actually, ‘that’s good that the people love me for that, but what’s going to get me there, to the top of the mountain. I need to adjust my game.’ And he left as the best player in the world.
“So Paul Pogba can look at that as something to learn from there as well. What do I really need to do to make myself the best midfielder on this planet?”
Even though Pogba and Ronaldo are completely different players, Ferdinand argues the psychological aspect of football is the same regardless of position.
“I don’t think it’s in terms of players that you compare them, it’s the mentality side. And that’s where Cristiano Ronaldo beats down every player around. He’s an animal mentally. He’s just single-minded, fearless, and obsessed. Crazy combination.”
Does Pogba have the maturity to undergo such a transformation? Leave a comment to let us know your thoughts.