The impressive display of Paul Pogba for France in their Euro 2020 opener against Germany had both Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira purring – but the pair are in total agreement over what the player lacks while playing for Manchester United.
Pogba was at his marauding best for Les Bleus as they opened their account with a 1-0 win over Germany in Munich. He put in an all-action display in the centre of the park as Didier Deschamps side collected all three points. And Pogba played his part in the winner, feeding a sumptuous pass out to Lucas Hernandez, whose cross was turned into his own net by Mats Hummels.
Pogba has now been back at United for five years. His £89.2m move in summer 2017 remains a club-record fee for the Red Devils. Rarely in that time though has Pogba shown his true colours on a regular basis. Yes, there have been patches of brilliance, but United fans will feel it’s not been seen enough.
And ahead of Tuesday’s game, old foes Keane and Vieira were proved right as they revealed his biggest failure for United.
And Keane insisted he is still not satisfied with Pogba’s performances and lack of leadership at Old Trafford.
“Listen, we keep talking about Paul Pogba, he’s no doubt a talented boy,” Keane said on ITV Sport.
“I still want more from him, particularly when he’s playing for Man United.
“No doubt he’s surrounded probably by better players [with France] and he’s more comfortable in that environment, on the left-hand side slotting in.
“A talented player but for me I just want more, particularly when he’s playing for Man United.
“But he’d still have, no doubt, an impact on this competition.”
Vieira responded by saying the opinion of Pogba in France is on a vastly higher plane. He then pointed out the leadership he shows with Les Bleus.
Vieira said: “[In France] there is a question about the performance that he has with Manchester [United] and the one obviously with the French national team is much, much better.
“I think there may be a system where he’s maybe feeling more comfortable in the French system than in Manchester.
“But obviously he’s a leader, he is an important player. So when he’s in Manchester he has to take responsibility.”
Keane interrupted, saying: “He doesn’t show that, Patrick, at United, at club level. He hasn’t shown leadership skills.
“He’s probably more comfortable no doubt in that environment [with France].
“But at United he’s been there previously, that’s the frustration.”
Too much pressure for Pogba at United
Vieira went on to suggest that perhaps the pressure is too great for Pogba at Old Trafford.
He added: “I think when he’s with Manchester United he doesn’t maybe take responsibility. Or maybe there’s not other players around him to take responsibility of course.
“I know that in the French national team he is sharing this kind of responsibility with other players around.
“I think in Manchester he’s maybe too much isolated and maybe that is why he is feeling too much pressure.
“But obviously there is a difference between the Pogba that we know at United and the one we know with the French national team.”