Paul Parker: John Obi Mikel better than Paul Pogba in defensive role

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Paul Pogba is yet to make his debut for Manchester United, but the world's most expensive footballer is expected to produce great things in this his second stint at Old Trafford.

With a huge price tag and several impressive seasons for Juventus on his CV, the Frenchman is widely considered one of the best midfielders in the business, and perhaps the final piece in the jigsaw as United look to become title challengers once again.

All of that makes former Man United defender Paul Parker's claim today concerning Pogba and Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel one that is sure to leave 99.9% of Red Devils fans scratching their heads.


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Speaking to 888 Sport in comments relayed by, the former England international turned analyst somewhat sensationally claimed that Pogba isn't as good as Mikel if deployed in a defensive midfield position.

"Can he be as good as Roy Keane or Bryan Robson? I wonder about him playing that midfield role,” said Parker.

“I worry about him making tackles and getting across to close players down because he is rangy. He doesn’t have quick feet and his game is about going to ground. That’s going to be a problem.

“In a holding position it would be a waste because he’s not a Makelele or even a John Obi Mikel because one thing Mikel can do is close people down."

Mikel, who, as one of the most highly rated teenagers in football at the time, very nearly became a United player before signing for Chelsea in 2006.

But, over the subsequent decade, the Nigerian hasn't exactly become of the best combative midfielders in the game. In fact, he often struggles to get a game at Stamford Bridge.

Although many United fans would agree that Pogba is more suited to playing further up the field, the idea that a midfielder worth £89.3 million doesn't have the skill set to match a squad player at Chelsea is likely to be met with bemusement.

In fairness to Parker, Pogba didn't exactly shine when deployed in a deeper role for France during Euro 2016 as he struggled to stamp his authority on some games.

Nevertheless, his physical characteristics make him a supreme all around talent and, should Mourinho ask him to play a deeper role at Old Trafford, he would surely be odds on to do it more successfully than John Obi Mikel will do in west London.

"Pogba can get forward, and score goals, and pass the ball," Parker continued. "But in a high-tempo game he won’t be very good in a deep role."

Man Utd fans: Where is Paul Pogba's best position? Have your say in the comments below...

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Wayne Rooney
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