Souness slams ‘lazy and dishonest’ Man Utd flop Pogba as he claims he was right about the midfielder

Joe Williams
Graeme Souness on Man Utd flop Paul Pogba
Graeme Souness and Paul Pogba.

Graeme Souness insists that it was “only sadness” that he has felt this week after former Man Utd midfielder Paul Pogba was banned from football for four years.

The former Manchester United player was on Thursday handed a four-year ban for a doping offence, according to reports in Italy.

The 30-year-old was provisionally suspended by Italy’s national anti-doping tribunal in September after testing positive for testosterone following Juve’s Serie A match with Udinese on August 20, where he was an unused substitute.

And, after the failed test was confirmed by Italian anti-doping body Nado in a second sample in October, the four-year suspension requested by the prosecutor’s office has now reportedly been granted.

Pogba has responded by issuing a statement on social media saying he has “never knowingly or deliberately taken any supplements that violate anti-doping regulations”.

He also said he will be lodging an appeal with the Court of Arbitration for Sport against the ban.

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Souness was one of Pogba’s greatest critics during his time in the Premier League at Man Utd but the Liverpool legend insists he takes no pleasure in seeing the World Cup winner wasting his career.

“I criticised Paul Pogba often during his career and some people seemed to take amusement from it,” Souness told the Daily Mail.

“But it was only sadness that I felt this week, when I learned that he has been banned from football for four years, for a doping offence.

“For me, there really was never any doubt about Pogba’s ability. What I saw in him was a player with great technical ability and physique who had the potential to be one of the best midfield players our sport had ever known.

“It was his lack of honesty and poor effort levels which always frustrated me. Frankly, he was lazy.

“Someone with the extreme talent he possessed should perform in a way which means he is remembered as one of the best players in the world, long after has left the stage.

“Instead, he wasted his career. Having won the World Cup with France in Russia, in 2018, he allowed himself to get into his armchair and was never fully committed to the cause of being a team player.

“I criticised him to such a substantial degree – and take no satisfaction from saying I was proved right – because I could see that huge potential. I saw the kind of player he could become.

“It’s sad to hear that the drugs test found elevated levels of testosterone in his system. As if he didn’t have enough athleticism. A drug like that would make him more powerful, with higher energy levels and it would also make him an angrier person to be around.

“He is 30-years-old and we won’t see him at an elite level again. A desperately sad ending to the career of someone who had the world at his feet and might still have been talked about, 20, 30 or 40 years from now.”