Sunday 20 October 2019

Roy Keane gives his World Cup final verdict and changes his tune on Paul Pogba

Paul Pogba and (inset) Roy Keane
Paul Pogba and (inset) Roy Keane
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Roy Keane has given Paul Pogba a glowing tribute as he prepares to play in the World Cup final against Croatia.

Former Manchester United skipper Keane has been highly critical of Pogba since his £89m move to Old Trafford in the summer of 2016 and has suggested he is more interested in self-promotion than winning matches for his team.

"I look at Pogba off the field and he seems to have a big personality whether it be social media, the cars he drives, his haircut….he needs to bring all that on to the football pitch," declared Keane last February.

Yet the Irishman has been impressed with the France midfielder at this World Cup and he is backing Pogba to inspire a victory for his nation in the biggest game of them all.

"I am not writing off Croatia, but I fancy France in this final," Keane told ITV Sport. "The shape they have, the attacking players they have, they are pretty decent at the back and I think Pogba has been excellent for the last few games, so I fancy them. they are big favourites to win it."

Keane insisted pressure will not play a factor in the final in Moscow, even though this could be a career-defining game for all taking part.

"These players are used to pressure, all of them are playing for big clubs," he added. "They will be used to pressure. That won't play a part."

Keane's fellow ITV pundit Gary Neville is also backing France to be crowned as world champions, as he suggested coach Didier Dechamps has found a winning formula with a squad of highly talented players.

"It looks like they have the right balance between the killer moments up front and the defensive solidity with (N'Golo) Kane and (Blaise) Matuidi," stated Neville.

"Then Pogba when he breaks from midfield positions as he has done in this tournament, there is no one better.

"At the back, Rafael Varane is close for me to being Player of the Tournament. He has been absolutely brilliant, so you would think they have enough to beat Croatia, who were not great against England the other night."

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