Manchester United legend Gary Neville has explained why he seems to focus so much criticism onto Red Devils midfielder Paul Pogba.
The former right-back has insisted it’s a compliment of sorts as he believes Pogba can be so much better and influential than he has been for the club.
Neville also set the France international the target of lifting this side to trophies and possibly becoming Player of the Year material in the process.
“Paul Pogba is now the obsession, because he’s the biggest player at the biggest club, he’s a World Cup winner and it should be a compliment that people are talking about it,” Neville told the Off The Ball show, as quoted by the Metro.
“When I criticised Paul Pogba after the penalty incident at Wolves, I don’t see it as being any different than the criticism of Roy Keane or David Beckham or Wayne Rooney [back when Neville was playing]. The best player, the leader, the captain in the team, will stand up and he will take the brunt of the criticism. Just as the manager will and the coach will. It won’t be the assistant coach, it won’t be the left winger or the right-back or the left-back, it will be the player who is the number one player in the team and that’s never changed.
“He’s the Bryan Robson of the 80’s now. United were in trouble, people hung everything on Bryan Robson, everybody now hangs a lot on Paul Pogba. But that’s the pressure that he wants, he wants to be the best player in the world. So now go and show us you’re the best player in the world.
“Carry this team, which is young, inexperienced, hasn’t got the most know-how, needs leaders and characters on the pitch. And I said two weeks ago on television, wouldn’t it be great if he thought of himself as being the Player of the Year this year.
“What does he need to do that? Carry Manchester United into the Champions League, win the Europa League, drive them forward. Take it as your responsibility, you’re at this club for 12 months and you’re going to be the best player in the league and one of the best players in the world.
“That’s what I want from Paul Pogba, that’s what I want from him because I believe he’s capable of doing it. I have faith in him to do it. But then I see an incident like Wolves, and that disappoints me. So he has to take the criticism for that.”
It remains to be seen if this can truly work out for Pogba at Old Trafford, with the 26-year-old never quite getting into gear in his time in England so far.
Despite clearly being a world class performer on his day, as shown at former club Juventus and with the French national team at last summer’s World Cup in particular, Pogba doesn’t seem a natural fit in this Man Utd team.
Fans will hope Pogba gets the message from Neville and can sort himself out just that little bit to improve both his and his club’s fortunes.