Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba has drawn the ire of certain sections of the French media after being singled out following the 0-0 draw with Belarus on Tuesday night.
Les Bleus were unable to get their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign off to a winning start, and in turn it earned the team plenty of criticism.
Among those singled out was Pogba with L’Equipe noting that he ‘wasn’t bad, just average’, and that evidently isn’t good enough for a player who cost United £89m last month, as noted by BBC Sport.
However, that wasn’t the end of the criticism, the L’Equipe article goes on to add a damning verdict of Pogba’s progress with the national team, or lack of, and although he still has plenty of time on his side given that he’s just 23, more is undoubtedly expected of him in his homeland.
“Yesterday he celebrated his 40th match since joining les Bleus in March 2013, and in three years it is still difficult to pick a match which stuck in the mind and justified all the hopes and acclaim that has accompanied the player since his debut,” the report noted.
“Pogba is young? That is true. But at his age others already had a Ballon d’Or, the award that the French publicly admits he aspires to. Obviously he still has time to express all the talent attributed to him, but it is a shame to miss opportunities to distinguish himself as would have been the case in Borisov.”
It’s added that he needs to become “less marketing, more sporty” moving forward, and although this is the view of one L’Equipe reporter, he certainly has a point and the pressure is therefore on Pogba to respond and mature into the leader and game-changer that the French supporters want him to be.
His progress at United will be key in doing that, as he’ll need to live up to that hefty price-tag and deliver for Jose Mourinho’s men on a consistent basis and then translate that onto the international stage.
Having underwhelmed on the whole at Euro 2016, Pogba will have to provide a positive response sooner rather than later before he gets a perhaps unfair tag of being unable to live up to expectations.