Michael Owen has claimed that Paul Pogba would be excelling as one of the world’s best footballers if he was playing for either of Manchester United’s main rivals.
Jose Humour has struggled to get the best out of Pogba since bringing him back to United in 2016, but BT Sport pundit Owen believes that Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp or City chief Pep Guardiola would be able to manage him better. Owen, who represented both Liverpool and United during his playing career, said in the build-up to Wednesday’s game with Valencia, “I’m of the opinion that he is totally world class playing in a certain team in a certain way.
“I get very frustrated watching him because I know he’s better than what we see week in week out. I’m almost siding with him because I don’t think the way the team plays or the way the manager manages him is conducive to getting the best out of him.”
Pogba started against Valencia in what was effectively a dead rubber for United, who had already qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League. The Frenchman had been benched for United’s previous two matches and Owen added, “I think the manager has to take some of the blame — the system, the way he plays. I remember when he first signed they were trying all kinds of mid-fielders in and around him trying to get the best out of him.
“I feel sorry for him from that point of view but, as a player, it is frustrating when you watch him because he still looks like a 16 or 17-year-old learning the game. I think he could do a lot worse than just going to watch a load of videos of Paul Scholes — see when to play one touch, see when to take loads of touches, when to beat players . . .
“I think he makes so many bad decisions in games, which is frustrating because if he was playing as he should . . . If he was playing under Guardiola or Klopp or someone like that I think we’d be looking at certainly one of the best few players in the world, but at the moment we can’t say that.” Fellow BT pundit and former United player Owen Hargreaves appeared to blame Pogba’s struggles at United on the players around him.
Hargreaves said, “The balance around him hasn’t worked at United. Mourinho has tried and it hasn’t worked. I think at United the blame always goes all to Pogba or all to Mourinho. And I think it’s very difficult to try to manage that. They need help because all the other players are almost getting out of it.
“There is no denying that Paul Pogba is a special player but I think right now he’s not playing because the intensity isn’t there.” — Daily Mail Football.