When a footballer is rated as being one of the best in the world, not to mention earning the kind of income that befits that status, expectations regarding their levels of performance are always going to be high. Constantly under scrutiny, critics would suggest that Paul Pogba has failed to deliver consistently enough, since returning to Manchester United for £89.3 million in 2016.
There seems to be a disconnect between the quality of Pogba with France, compared to his displays for Manchester United, although this is not entirely the fault of the player himself. Indeed, it appears to have taken Ole Gunnar Solskjaer almost three years of ruminations, before he finally seems to have unlocked the true potential of Pogba, seemingly unable to unleash the full potential of the 28-year-old until now.
In his first four Premier League appearances of the 2021-22 campaign, Pogba has already registered 7 assists in just 4 games. Four of those assists came in the opening match of the season, when the Red Devils demolished Leeds United 5-1 at Old Trafford, as the Frenchman established a new Premier League record for assists in one game.
Paul Pogba’s 7️⃣ assists are the most EVER for a Premier League player through 4️⃣ matches. pic.twitter.com/VBL1uv5bVj
— Goal (@goal) September 12, 2021
Just to give that some context, Pogba has only managed to register 5 assists in each of his last two Premier League seasons with Manchester United. The best he has achieved to date was 10 assists in 27 appearances during the 2017-18 campaign, followed by 9 assists in 35 games during the 2018-19 season. During both of those campaigns, Pogba also weighed in with a healthy contribution of goals, scoring 6 then 13 respectively.
“We gave him the freedom to roam,” explained Solskjaer, when asked to account for Pogba’s impressively creative performance, following the victory against Leeds. That one comment underlings what has arguably been missing from Pogba, throughout most of his time at Manchester United. Often asked to play deeper in midfield and tasked with contributing defensively, his creative and attacking attributes have been somewhat shackled.
That clearly wasn’t the case at Juventus, where Pogba formed part of a midfield trio, given the freedom to get forward and make his presence felt in the final third of the pitch. The same has been observed whenever Pogba has represented France, with pundits often left scratching their heads, whenever questioning what they perceived to be inconsistency playing for Manchester United.
Interestingly, the player himself has been keen to provide the answers to those questions all along, during a recent interview published by French media outlet L’Equipe, then highlighted by Metro in June of this year. Pogba was eager to point out that he has more freedom with France, compared to his role with Manchester United, where “the priority is to play and defend” instead.
“I am a little more [involved] in the transmission, in the construction” of creating chances, explained Pogba of his role when playing for France. He also underlined that with Les Bleus there considerably “more freedom than in Manchester to enter the box, to make runs forward,” which inevitably increases his individual chances to score and provide assists.
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) March 28, 2018
Now that Solskjaer appears to be more willing to give Pogba the freedom he craves at United, the player has responded with some of his best individual performances to date, all thanks to being handed the license roam and with less positional rigidity required. This could also make all the difference, as the Red Devils aim to become genuine challengers for the Premier League title.
Many of the leading bookmakers have begun shortening their odds, which now reflect how positively Manchester United have started the 2021-22 campaign. However, it’s always important to get insights that make a real difference, whenever choosing where to place our bets. This is the aim of SBO betting site reviews and ratings, which are accompanied by the latest information about free bets and sign-up bonuses.
Free tips from pro tipsters can help us get the inside edge, while proven betting strategies and staking plans can make a real difference. Interestingly, proven strategies have shown us what Pogba is capable of producing, first with Juventus and then consistently with France. Now that Solskjaer finally seems to have taken the hint, hopefully, Pogba will finally get to demonstrate his full array of creative talents.