Is Paul Pogba Being Misused At Man United?

Paul Pogba enjoyed a terrific start to the current campaign and was one of Manchester United’s stars as they got off to a great start to their Premier League season.

The French internationalist then suffered from a hamstring injury but seemed decent when he returned to first team action, scoring on his return and bossing things against Arsenal in December he was sent off.

The midfield dynamo hasn’t been great since the turn of the year.

The international midfielder hasn’t dominated games and has looked pretty lacklustre in certain outings. Those inefficient performances resulted in Paul being dropped for his side’s win over Huddersfield Town and then being hauled off after just 65 minutes in the Red Devils loss to Newcastle United yesterday.

For me, Paul Pogba is playing like a conflicted player who doesn’t really know what his role is in the team.

We know that Jose Mourinho likes to go defensive when he feels that he’s under pressure to get results and that means having two holding midfielders anchoring things in the engine room.

Summer signing Nemanja Matic knows exactly what to do in that area and will always look to be a player that sits and marshals in-front of the defensive back four. In the earlier parts of the season, when United were flying, Matic would hold back and Pogba would have the freedom to go further forward. With that licence to roam, Paul managed to pick up three league goals and nine assists.

In recent weeks, he seems to be more subdued and asked to put in more of a defensive shift. The problem with that is that he isn’t built for the position. He has the creative urge to get into attacking areas. So when United lose the ball, he’s sometimes out of position and not defensively where he should be.

The United team looked more balanced when Scott McTominay started ahead of Pogba in the Huddersfield game but that’s because he’s suited to the defensive role. The youngster likes getting his foot in and that’s not Pogba’s style.

If Mourinho wants to play with two proper holding midfielders then he’s better off without Paul Pogba in those positions. Instead you could play him further forward in the number ten role but at the moment Jesse Lingard is in form and rightfully has that role nailed down.

At Juventus and with the French national team, Pogba has been at his best in the left side of a midfield three. Man United have the personnel to play in that formation but Jose seems to prefer the 4-2-3-1 tactic, probably because it sees someone like Lingard playing closer to Romelu Lukaku and gives Alexis Sanchez and Anthony Martial a chance to shine on the wings.

To be honest, I think something has got to give or Mourinho will have an unhappy Paul Pogba on his hands. Either give him more license to roam or change your formation because the holding role just doesn’t suit him or the team’s needs.

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