Tuesday 17 July 2018

Graeme Souness claims Paul Pogba lacks a 'basic understanding' of playing central midfield and may never get it

Paul Pogba and Graeme Souness
Paul Pogba and Graeme Souness

Daniel Zeqiri

Graeme Souness questions whether Paul Pogba has the positional sense to become a top-class central midfielder, claiming the Manchester United player 'lacks a basic understanding' of the role.

Pogba's return from a hamstring injury last month sparked Man Utd into life, and he produced an outstanding display in their 3-1 victory away at Arsenal including two assists.

Former Liverpool midfielder Souness however, working as a pundit on Irish television, criticised the France international for not tracking back adequately in United's 2-1 win over CSKA Moscow.

Souness told TV3: “When he is on the ball, there’s lots of things to admire. He’s powerful, he’s got good technique, he can wrong foot people, he can ping the ball. 

"Where I question him, whether he'll ever be a top player, is his understanding of the game.

“This isn’t me being an ex-Liverpool player caning a Man Utd player. I thought the same when he was a Juventus player.”

He added: “That is basic stuff you learn in the youth team. He's 24 years old if he's not got it now when is he gonna get it?

"He hasn't taken a big game by the scruff of the neck and dominated it. He hasn't got a basic understanding of his position, I can't see that changing.”

It is not the first occasion Souness has expressed scepticism about Pogba. He claimed Man Utd had their 'trousers taken down' when paying a then world record £89 million for him in the summer of 2016.

This September, he described the former Juventus player as a 'bit of a Youtuber' and argued Marouane Fellaini was a bigger threat.

The summer purchase of Nemanja Matic has helped give Pogba the platform he needs to damage opposing defences, and he already has three goals and six assists from 12 appearances this term.

Jose Mourinho will have to cope without his best midfielder against Manchester City on Sunday, after his straight red card at Arsenal for a stamp on Hector Bellerin.

Online Editors

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport