Didier Deschamps and Corentin Tolisso have jumped to Paul Pogba’s rescue after the Manchester United star was booed off the field in a friendly against Italy.
The EURO 16 finalists are one of the favourites to go all the way in the World Cup this year, and the quality in their squad will mean that every player needs to be at their best to get a shot in the first team.
But Paul Pogba, who has been struggling to find any kind of a rhythm in his stint at Old Trafford, is now in serious danger of losing his place in Deschamps’ first team in Russia.
The maverick 25-year-old had a quiet game against Italy, wherein Ousmane Dembele, Antoine Griezmann, and Samuel Umtiti all found the back of the net in a 3-1 victory.
Pogba, who started the game, had decent influence on the proceedings, but apparently did not do enough to please the crowd at Allianz Riviera.
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The midfielder has cut a frustrating figure for quite a while now, making a number of average outings for the club and country since the turn of the year. And these frustrations are evident in a small clip from that recent game against Italy.
Pogba found some space for himself in the middle of the park as the ball broke to him some 35 yards from goal. He decided to try his luck from long range, but only managed to give Italy a throw-in, annoying the home fans.
And not long later, when Les Blues’ boss subbed him off, a chorus of boos echoed around the stadium, showing dissent at Pogba’s performances.
While this might put his place in the World Cup in trouble, Deschamps feels otherwise. Speaking to the media, he gaffer said: ‘The whistles for Paul Pogba? It’s not just for him, at one point we kept the ball and they whistled too.
‘The public also prefers to score five, six goals but it’s high level, there is a team in front of us. The players do the right thing. Are they affected or not, I do not know… I will not remember that, but if it maybe could not be the case, it would be better.’
Pogba was not the only played booed off the field. Florian Thauvin, who was in superb form in Ligue 1 last season, was also jeered off minutes later, which annoyed the players.
Corentin Tolisso, Deschamps’ other midfielder, was also quick to jump at the players’ rescue.
‘Personally, when you witness this kind of whistling – and I also noticed some for Florian Thauvin – it’s exasperating, it annoys me,’ said the 23-year-old.
‘We’re France, we are all France players, we’re all fighting for our country and for the fans there and we produced a very good performance.
‘Paul had a good game, he worked hard. It hurts because I wouldn’t want to be whistled, even if I went to Saint-Etienne as an ex-Lyon player. Fans need to realise this. We’re all on the same boat, and we have to all stick together.’