Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba is ‘a country mile’ from being a ‘great player’, according to Graeme Souness.
Pogba has come in for criticism for his recent performances, particularly having been substituted in the second half of United’s 2-0 defeat to Tottenham earlier this month.
The Frenchman was dropped for the club’s subsequent game, a victory over Huddersfield.
Liverpool legend Souness believes that Pogba has an ‘inability to grasp the responsibility that comes with being a central midfielder’.
‘He still doesn’t understand what is required to play that position properly,’ he told the Sunday Times.
‘Pogba simply cannot be one of two in central midfield. You cannot rely on him. Against the lesser teams you’ll get away with it, but against the better teams you’re not going to.
‘For Mourinho and United, it’s about finding the right position for him, but he isn’t a playmaker. If you’re looking for a central midfielder who recognises danger, fills spaces and doesn’t drift out of position, he’s not going to do that for you.
‘When he’s asked to do a job centrally, he’s forever straying towards the touchline trying to get on the ball. A central midfielder should never be in areas wider than the penalty box, unless they are out there to confront danger defensively. When your side are in possession you should always be thinking: “If it breaks down, I’m out of the game.”
‘Pogba empties that central area far too readily. He will do something clever in the final third, but will be absent when his back four are under the cosh. He plays like a schoolboy running after the ball in the playground.
‘There’s lots I like about Pogba. He’s powerful and athletic with good technique, but I’ve not seen a different, improved Pogba since he walked back into Old Trafford in August 2016.’