This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Speaking on talkSPORT, former Wales international Dean Saunders has urged Manchester United star Paul Pogba to stop trying fancy flicks and extravagant passes all the time.
The France World Cup winner has been the subject of intense transfer speculation this summer, but delivered an encouraging performance in United’s first Premier League game of the season against Chelsea.
Now, Saunders has implored Pogba to keep things simple in the middle of the park and choose his moments to showboat.
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He said: “For me, the best players in the world do the simple things well most of the time. The great players in the world, they still do the same thing but occasionally they make you clap.
“Pogba tries to make you clap every time he gets the ball, for me. He’s trying Cruyff turns, trying difficult passes, there’s no doubt he can do it, but there’s got to be times where you should just play one touch, two touch and keep moving the ball across the pitch.”
Telling Pogba to stop trying skills and tricks is easier than done. It takes away everything the 26-year-old is as a midfielder. When United signed the Frenchman back in 2016, there was surely an understanding about the profile of player they were getting. The former Juventus ace isn’t someone who’s going to patrol his defence in front of the back four and lay the ball off to his teammates. He is not a workhorse. He is not Nemanja Matic. He is not Jordan Henderson.
He is however going to be the driving force for his team and the catalyst for their attacks.
One of the criticisms of Pogba’s career at Old Trafford has been the approach some United managers have taken with him. Attempting to try and “shackle” his natural game is making a major mistake. Whilst his display against Chelsea wasn’t without its flaws, his two assists came about because he was willing to embrace the creative responsibility for his side. Pogba can be considered one of the best in the world by being himself, and not becoming something he isn’t.