Paul Ince hasn’t held back in his assessment of Paul Pogba as he believes it’s time for Man Utd to move him on rather than persist with him beyond this season.
After a brilliant spell with Juventus, the 27-year-old returned to United in 2016 but has struggled to consistently deliver at the level that he’s capable of producing at.
The World Cup-winning French international enjoyed his most prolific season yet in terms of goals last year with 16 in 47 appearances, and that suggested that he could rediscover his best form under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
However, he’s been left bitterly frustrated this season as he’s been limited to just eight appearances due to injury, and despite the fact that he hasn’t featured in the Premier League since December, Ince has decided that now is as good a time as any to criticise Pogba and urge Man Utd to avoid keeping him through to next season.
“He’s [Bruno Fernandes] come in and hit the ground running fairly instantly, winning over the fans in the process. Pogba never did that, and his performances have been inconsistent to say the least,” he told Paddy Power, as quoted by The Sun. “Sometimes they’ve been on the border of diabolical, and occasionally they’ve been brilliant. When you cost that kind of money as a player, fans expect you to be consistently great, especially when you’re playing for Manchester United.
“The way he’s been acting and behaving recently, he just isn’t good for the club. If you want the right attitude and mentality, and high standards, then sorry, but that doesn’t fit in with Paul Pogba.
“There’s been too many distractions, too many reports around him and his behaviour, so his time for me is up.
“The decision needs to be made, and quickly, because we can’t have another season of the Pogba circus. He wouldn’t even get in the side at the moment.
“If he was being honest, when he got there I think he’s gone to himself, ‘Hmm. This wasn’t what I’d built it up to be. Was this the right idea?’ Those feelings are still there now, he regrets his decision, and that’s clear.”
On one hand, it’s easy to understand the frustration felt by Ince, and it’s arguably shared by many Man Utd fans who expected more from Pogba after his return to the club by playing a leading role in guiding them to more silverware.
However, there is little doubt that he can be a world-class operator when in top form, and perhaps with the option to now pair him with someone like Fernandes in midfield, he could yet flourish and prove his worth to the club.
With his current contract expiring in 2021, albeit United do have an option to extend it for a further 12 months, a decision will surely need to be made on his future this summer either way, but time will tell if the hierarchy and Solskjaer share Ince’s views or if they are still convinced keeping Pogba at Old Trafford is the best way to help them be competitive moving forward.