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04th Feb 2019

Garth Crooks finally praises Paul Pogba and compares Man United defenders to Italian greats

He didn't even mention Pogba's hair

Darragh Murphy

Garth Crooks has been won over by Paul Pogba.

While we don’t anticipate Graeme Souness changing his stance on Pogba, Crooks has definitely been turned around on the Frenchman in recent weeks.

The Ole Gunnar Solskjaer effect continued on Sunday, when Manchester United claimed a 1-0 victory over Leicester City to maintain United’s undefeated run since sacking Jose Mourinho in December.

Pogba ran the show from midfield and set up the game’s only goal with a gorgeous lofted ball into the path of Marcus Rashford, who made no mistake with his finish.

The assist impressed former United player Crooks, who has been one of the Frenchman’s harshest critics since his €105 million move from Juventus, with most of his scorn stemming from Pogba’s ever-changing hairstyle.

After selecting Pogba in his BBC Team of the Week column, Crooks wrote: “The ball for Marcus Rashford to score the only goal of the game was sensational, while the rest of his game caused Leicester all sorts of problems. I have given Pogba untold abuse since his arrival from Juventus but credit where credit is due – since the departure of Jose Mourinho the lad has been immense.”

Pogba wasn’t the only Red Devils player named in Crooks’ team as defender Victor Lindelof was also selected for carrying on his incredible run of form.

The Swedish centre-half, who initially struggled following his 2017 move from Benfica, looks revitalised under Solskjaer and his composure against Leicester alongside Eric Bailly earned the pair a massively complimentary comparison from Crooks.

“There are a number of players in this new Manchester United set-up who I don’t recognise anymore,” Crooks said.

“Eric Bailly was a nervous wreck away against Brighton earlier in the season and Victor Lindelof wasn’t much better – but the pair looked like the superb former Italy defenders Fabio Cannavaro and Alessandro Nesta at their best against a very dangerous Leicester team.

“Lindelof in particular is playing with an authority I haven’t seen from him before. What is Ole Gunnar Solskjaer feeding these boys?!”