Gary Neville has an alternative view on the Paul Pogba v Roy Keane comparison
Published 14/08/2016 | 10:14
Gary Neville has urged Man Utd record signing Paul Pogba to transform himself into an £89m bargain by becoming as big an Old Trafford legend as Roy Keane.
Pogba sealed his world record move back to Old Trafford last Tuesday, with the price tag attached to the 23-year-old Frenchman one of the big talking points in football throughout this summer of big spending.
Yet United legend Neville believes Pogba will represent value for money - if he establishes a legacy to compare to Old Trafford midfield greats Keane and Bryan Robson.
“To expect him to be like Robson or Keane would be placing far too much expectation upon him, but if Pogba gets anywhere near those levels – those of Robson and Keane – in five or six years’ time, he will be looked upon as cheap,” Neville is quoted in the Sunday People.
“That’s just how Ferdinand and Rooney are considered. Look at Rio. At the time everyone went, ‘£30m for a centre-back... wow!’.”
Neville went on to suggest Pogba’s signing has put United back on the map as the biggest club in the Premier League, after three years of indifference following the retirement of the club’s legendary manager Alex Ferguson.
“Manchester United have always broken transfer records for players who are of a certain age, just below their peak,” he added. “Roy Keane, Rio Ferdinand and Wayne Rooney spring to mind.
“They are getting back to that blueprint with Pogba. He is two or three years short of his peak, but he is a profile signing the club would normally make.
“For £89m, Pogba will be expected to win big games. He has to grab games by the scruff of the neck and win big games of football.
“At Manchester United, you have to win your team big matches. So, Manchester City at home on September 10 [will be], ‘Paul, go and win us the match’. Because that’s what Sergio Aguero, Yaya Toure and David Silva have all been doing for City.
“That’s not me demanding him to do it, but those are the types of games that he has to influence.
“The best Manchester United sides have always had this strong spine with creative, inventive players around the edges.
“In the last couple of years, they have moved away from that. But with the introduction of Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, what have they added? Personality and character, that’s what.
“Jose’s teams – look at the likes of Didier Drogba, John Terry – have always had leaders and personalities. That’s what we now have. He is getting back to the classic United team – where everyone disliked us.
“When I played, we fed off it. Sir Alex Ferguson would be on the touchline, having a go at the officials, the punters would be having a go and Keane, Paul Scholes or David Beckham would offer up some direct confrontation.
“I think that aggression – or edge – has gone in the past couple of years. It needs to come back and I think, under Jose, that it will.”