‘Pogba criticism is unfair. Man United should build team around him’: Ex-keeper Bosnich (VIDEO)
Despite finding the net 13 times and recording 9 assists to top Man United’s goals and assist tallies for the 2018/19 season, Paul Pogba has come under criticism from many corners of United’s support for his perceived lack of effort and focus on the pitch.
Aside from perceptions, there’s no doubt that a trophy-less, 6th-place finish last term is a lackluster follow-up to last summer's World Cup glory with France, and strong talks of an imminent exit to Real Madrid have surfaced, despite the Reds reportedly having no intention of selling the 26-year-old.
Reports in Italy have also indicated the player’s agent, Mino Raiola, is in talks with Juventus over a return to the club with which he won four Serie A titles. However, only initial contact between the teams has so far been confirmed with United still yet to set in stone the future of their most commercially attractive asset.
Whatever United decide, it is widely expected they will be keen to make a profit on the £90 million ($115 million) transfer fee that prised him from Turin three summers ago.
Mark Bosnich, who won a Premier League winners medal between the sticks with the Reds, something that leaves a glaring hole in Pogba’s collection, believes that whatever the outcome regarding the player's future, criticism of the Frenchman from his old club's supporters is unwarranted.
“I think a lot of that has been thrown at him and a lot of that has been unfair. People have their own style and the way they go about things and people need to realize he is a world class player," Bosnich told RT Sport over Skype from his native Australia.
"It’s synonymous of the team right now how things are actually going. Because they’re not going the best and Manchester United aren’t really we're they should be. People have got to keep that in the back of their mind.
“As I always say, the best players in the team always get the plaudits when things are going well, and when they’re not, they get the biggest criticism as well.”
The 2018/19 was Pogba's first without any silverware - either at club or international level - since 2013, winding up a dire Premier League campaign with a draw and home defeat against relegated Huddersfield and Cardiff respectively to finish sixth.
It began much publicized rifts with former manager Jose Mourinho, which saw Pogba be stripped of the club captaincy, and the latter being relieved of his duties in December after a heavy loss to Liverpool.
The arrival of his replacement, club legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, seemed to signal a fresh start for Pogba at the club free from unsuitable tactical shackles, which saw an upturn in his and the club's performances.
“Oh I don’t think we’ve seen the best of [Pogba] yet. For a long time you would have to say under Mourinho he wasn’t used in a role that you could say suited him. And I understand he’s very very divisive but for me both him and Lukaku, again coming back to the attitude thing, and when I say attitude - just be up front," Bosnich said.
“The club needs to go and say ‘do you want to be here, seriously do you want to be here yes or no’. If both of those players want to be there, them two along with De Gea, should be the people they’re looking to build a team around.
“I know he’s had his detractors and you know sometimes it comes across a little bit of a different way because he does sometimes have a blase attitude towards things and I think a lot of people, especially people from Manchester sometimes see that a little bit of a different way. But he is a top top player, when I say top player he is a world class player.
“And I think if we wants to stay it should be made painfully clear to him that we’re going to build a team around yourself around Lukaku and around David de Gea. And basically I say to you if I got rid of Paul Pogba, how much money am I going to get for him and who am I going to replace him because that won’t be easy.”
Pogba and United’s shortcomings were accentuated by the successes of the five teams directly above them: neighbors Manchester City secured a second successive league title; Liverpool reached a second straight Champions League final, in which they bettered fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur; whereas Arsenal and Chelsea faced each other in the Europa League final.
Should Pogba leave Old Trafford, the news will be met with something between apathy and frustration by fans; almost all will consider his unquestionable potential unfulfilled, whereas many will be relieved to be free of the player who has come to embody United's abject performances. But few will find it hard to argue that United will struggle to replace him, leaving the option of building a team around the Frenchman a logical solution to United's Pogba problem.Also on rt.com Jose Mourinho names his Champions League team of the season – with some BIG absentees