Sky Sports pundits Frank Lampard and Jamie Carragher have analysed the reason behind Paul Pogba’s poor performances at Manchester United this season.
The Frenchman returned to the Theatre of Dreams in a record-breaking summer move, but having shown some promising glimpses, the 23-year-old has failed to justify his enormous price tag so far.
Frank Lampard, Chelsea’s legendary midfielder, analysed United’s star signing on Monday Night Football, and explained (via Sky Sports): “It was a signal of their intentions to spend £90m on player who I wouldn’t say is the finished article. He’s got fantastic attributes. But when you have a £90m price-tag on your shoulders, we analyse more and we want more.
“I’m still wondering, what’s his best position? What kind of player is he? What does he want to be? I feel a little bit like he has fallen in between everything. When you pay £90m you want to see results, and he hasn’t quite delivered. He’s young and he possibly will do, but as it stands he hasn’t been a game-changer.
“The problem he has is all of our perceptions. Who would you pay £90m or £100m for? Suarez, Ronaldo, Messi. They bring 40 to 50 goals a season. They win games on their own week in, week out. We don’t know that Paul Pogba can do that yet, but he’s being judged on it.
“We need to give him time. We need to flip forward to next season and see if he’s improving his game. But at some stage he has to be that dominant midfield player because I do believe that’s in him. The problem for me is that if you spend £90m, you don’t want a £90m problem.”
However, Jamie Carragher believes Pogba hasn’t improved one bit since his return to England.
“Six months later nothing has changed, said the former Liverpool man. “He’s still nowhere near good enough or disciplined enough to play in that central midfield role. He’s a liability defensively. They should have lost the EFL Cup final. Against one of the top sides I think they would have lost that game and Pogba was one of the reasons why.”
Lampard continued discussing Pogba’s role in the Red Devils’ midfield, by claiming: “I think when Mourinho is playing two midfielders, he wants them to defend. He wants their first thought to be security. I feel harsh criticising him because I don’t think it’s his real attribute to do that. I feel Jose Mourinho would want a holding midfield player to be doing that job.
“You do see a link between him and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and he’s trying those long passes, but my question is how much do you want him in that deep role spraying balls? If you want him to be like Scholes in his latter years, spreading balls from midfield, is that the job for a £90m player?
“Pogba has the ability to score and create goals, but from the position he’s in, it’s a long way to go. If he’s not close enough, he’s not going to get numbers as high as he should. It’s a problem for Manchester United and a problem for Jose Mourinho.”