The Paul Pogba debate continues to rumble on, with the only end in sight being someone else becoming the world’s new record signing or the Frenchman producing a level of form that has him nominated for the next Ballon d’Or.
The split in opinion stems down to more Pogba’s mindset than his technical ability. Although his natural talent is undeniable, he doesn’t control games in the way you’d expect of a 6 foot 3 central midfielder – especially one who is the most expensive footballer in the history of the sport.
Last night’s 1-0 win over Celta Vigo in the semi-finals of the Europa League provided a classic example. Although the Manchester United star didn’t necessarily control the match, he kept himself at the crux of the action in all areas of the pitch.
Indeed, as our infographic shows, it was an incredibly impressive all-round performance from the former Juventus man. He impacted going forward with two shots at goal and one created chance, whilst his ranging drives on the ball from midfield were a recurring trend of the ninety minutes.
But Pogba chipped in defensively too, making three interceptions, winning four aerial duels and completing three clearances (not shown above), and perhaps most tellingly of how involved he was, he also finished up with the most touches of the ball (and the most passes) of any Manchester United player.
Pogba’s received endless criticism during his returning season at Old Trafford, but last night’s performance provided the template for how he can prove worth that incredible world-record sum. Even if he didn’t completely control the match, he made massive contributions in all areas.