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23rd Feb 2018

Jamie Carragher has hit the nail on the head with his assessment of Paul Pogba

Perfectly summed up

Darragh Murphy

Paul Pogba was always going to dominate the headlines in one way or another.

When a club like Manchester United breaks its transfer record and signs a young player for £90 million then reporters, pundits and rival fans are going to be on high alert.

Paul Pogba has been playing under a media microscope in recent weeks, with rumours of a rift with manager Jose Mourinho and constant supporter debate about the Frenchman’s best position.

Mourinho substituted Pogba during a defeat to Newcastle two weeks ago before the midfielder made himself unavailable for the next game, an FA Cup victory at Huddersfield.

Pogba was dropped to the bench for the midweek Champions League clash against Sevilla but was forced to enter the fray after just 16 minutes due to an injury to Ander Herrera.

It’s been suggested that Pogba is expecting superstar treatment but, according to Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher, the 24-year-old has not come anywhere close to earning it.

“Every so often players come along who are brilliant but flawed. Such is their ability to decide games, their weaknesses have to be accepted and teams built around them,” Carragher wrote in The Telegraph .

“Does Paul Pogba come into this category at Manchester United? No. He has not done enough to warrant such special status. I can imagine Mourinho trying to get into Pogba’s head about what is required.

“Here we are, 18 months on, and nothing has changed. In recent away games against Spurs and Arsenal Pogba made the same mistakes.

“This time it is more serious because it shows he is either unwilling or incapable of absorbing information from his manager.”

Comparisons have been drawn between Pogba and Kevin De Bruyne, with fans questioning why the Manchester City playmaker has been such a runaway success while Pogba has somewhat struggled.

Well Carragher explained that De Bruyne does not consider himself absolved of defensive responsibilities and that the stats back up the fact that he is prepared to do some tracking back in order to help the team before he finds himself in situations in which he can create chances.

Carragher also discussed why his former teammate Steven Gerrard was able to roam forward with reckless abandon during his time at Liverpool, insisting that Gerrard justified the freedom that was afforded to him by affecting the scoresheet, something that Pogba hasn’t done often enough.

“At Liverpool, Rafa Benitez felt he had a dilemma with Steven Gerrard. He saw the dynamism he could offer from central midfield, but was worried about the spaces his forward bursts left in front of the defence. Gerrard’s heroic Istanbul performance was not as a central midfielder, but as a No 10,” Carragher continued.

“In 2006 he was named PFA Player of the Year, having spent most of the season at right midfield. In 2009 he was the FWA Player of the Year, having spent the season as a No 10 behind Fernando Torres.

“The difference was Gerrard was world class and there were options available to Benitez. He was so influential with goals and assists it justified tweaking the system to get the most from the captain. You can build teams around players like Gerrard.

“Pogba is nowhere near that level yet. He has great ability. It is yet to make him a great player.”