Thursday 18 July 2019

'He's grown and grown' - Rio Ferdinand and Alan Shearer hail Paul Pogba's display as France reach the World Cup final

France's Paul Pogba celebrates after his team advanced to the final
France's Paul Pogba celebrates after his team advanced to the final
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Rio Ferdinand declared Paul Pogba was proved he was worth the £89m Manchester United paid to sign him as his battling performance helped France to secure a place in the World Cup final.

Samuel Umtiti's 51st minute goal separated the sides in a tight World Cup semi-final in St Petersburg, with United legend Ferdinand hailing the contribution of one of the club's most scrutinised players. 

"Paul Pogba today showed why he went for so much money," Ferdinand told the BBC. “His discipline, which he’s been called out for beforehand, seemed to come into play.

“There’s an understanding about his game, a maturity today in this game. Not just today, but in this tournament he’s grown and grown and grown."

Ferdinand's fellow pundit Alan Shearer echoed those sentiments, as he poured praised on the France midfielder.

"I think Paul Pogba plays with a freedom in this French team that if he makes a mistake, it is accepted, but he looks scared to make that same mistake in a Manchester United shirt," said Shearer.

"He was excellent in several respects in this game. He fought for his team, he tracked back and his passing was superb. That's what we want to see from him."

Meanwhile, there was criticism of one of Belgium's Manchester United contingent from former Arsemal defender Martin Keown, as he questioned the qualities of striker Romelu Lukaku.

"Lukaku just has not got what it takes to play in a World Cup final and he showed that tonight," said Keown.

"This game never lived up to the billing. We thought there was going to be extra time tonight. All credit to France they were remarkably professional. France looked a class apart from Belgium."

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