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16th Jul 2018

France legend makes Paul Pogba claim that most will surely disagree with

Patrick McCarry

There was a clear narrative after the World Cup final.

France claimed their second ever World Cup trophy after beating Croatia 4-2 and Paul Pogba helped them get over the line. Pogba scored France’s third goal – a wonderful effort with his left boot that left Danijel Subasic planted – and displayed an array of superb passing as Didier Deschamps side cantered home.

Following the match, pundits lined up to basically say the same thing – THIS is what Paul Pogba can do!

Didier Deschamps, a man derided in many quarters before and during the tournament, was suddenly the coach that had unlocked Pogba’s dizzying potential.

Rio Ferdinand, Eamon Dunphy and Ian Wright all claimed that José Mourinho had failed to extract the best performances from Pogba and that the Manchester United boss could do worse than learn from Deschamps.

Liam Brady went a step further and suggested that Pogba had done so well as he had stopped worrying about his latest hair-cut or hair colour.

Ahead of the match, Gary Neville claimed that Pogba was so good for France because he had two holding midfielders – Blaise Matuidi and N’Golo Kante – beside him. He suggested that United should look at a similar tactic.

What Neville forgot was that United often played the likes of Nemanja Matic AND Ander Herrera in midfield with Pogba so he could have the freedom to drift out wide or push up in attack.

It took French football legend William Gallas, speaking on RMC Sport, to point out that it was Mourinho that has urged Pogba to play that more disciplined, holding role in the past two seasons. The former Chelsea and Arsenal defender said:

“It was Mourinho who changed Pogba’s in his style by asking him to drop back and work harder. Since he came back to Manchester, he had changed his style, and we can see that continuity with the French team.”

And unpopular opinion, especially to those wishing to use Pogba’s success to hammer Mourinho.

One thing is for sure, Pogba was more straitened than in many of his United performances so perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the middle. To suggest, though, that Deschamps is suddenly a tactical mastermind and Mourinho is despotic and stubborn regarding Pogba is far too simplistic.

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