Paul Pogba’s biggest asset? That he can’t be arsed…

Date published: Monday 17th June 2019 3:06

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Pogba perfect for modern football
Just reading the mails about Pogba and my decision is that he’s better off going to Real and being under Zidane. United (or at least United fans who write into the mailbox) seem to want a selfless, badge kissing, club loving, Proper footballer. There’s nothing wrong with that but it isn’t Pogba. Pogba is an individual in a team sport much like Ronaldo but with less dedication. Ronaldo was only successful at United because during his time there he had both a lot to prove and a lot to improve. He did this by a fearsome and relentless work ethic. Staying late in training, being the first to arrive etc. Pogba doesn’t need to do that. He’s already good (good enough to win the world cup) and his profile outside of pure football is already assured. Pogba is already one of the biggest names in football.

There’s something key I think about Pogba that people are not focusing on. An aspect of the game where he’s ahead of Ronaldo and ahead of most big names. Something about him that most managers would love. I’ll tell you what this is, it’s that he’s not demanding. He doesn’t really have tantrums. He won’t cry if he’s substituted. If he doesn’t start a game he won’t sit stony faced on the bench. In fact he might be seen having a laugh. Now if I were Zidane, this is why I’d want him. A footballer who, if he wants to can have a great game and impact a result with significance. A player who’ll relish big occasions but who won’t moan and sulk if I take him off or don’t start him. The bad side is that in a tough match against mediocre opposition he might struggle to motivate himself. Well so what, I’m the manager of Real Madrid, there will be better options for those occasions. I don’t need a chest thumping player to cover every blade of grass in every match. I just want a player who, if I find myself 2-0 down to Barcelona at half time, I could bring on with genuine belief he might still help me win the game.

Pogba is a modern day footballer. You can’t separate the football from the drama. He performs in both realms. He needs both to bring out the absolute best in him. A big match, high profile with side plots aplenty and you’ll have a Pogba on fire (usually). A dull match against Stoke / equivalent in Spain and you can leave him out or bring him on with 20 minutes to go.

Managers are not just managers, they are directors now as well and I don’t mean director of football. For those who want pure sport, switch to Rugby or Cricket or Superbikes or Snooker (I must prefer all 3 over football for the purely sporting elements). But for a pastime that transcends categorisation, where the pitch and the press rooms and the forums and parades are all part of the stage, football stands possibly alone with Pogba the perfect figurehead for the new following.
Scott (Roy Hodgson is a nice guy) CPFC


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…This Pogba thing will bring up all sorts of nonsense from all quarters.

From the player there is really no need to behave like that. Football fans are understanding of what players want and can see when you do things the right way and when you don’t. Ronaldo doesn’t get abuse from United fans despite wanting to leave. He did it right. Mane doesn’t from Southampton fans but VVD does for doing the same thing. Act with some class. I’d suggest getting your head down this season, seeing what happens and giving your best so you can leave next summer having demonstrated to everyone you did your absolute best at all times to carry this team and it was beyond even your staggering abilities. Try that for a start.

From the club, break the habit of the past 6 or 7 years and act decisively. Go and get some obvious targets to fill some obvious holes. Show the ambition to improve, show world class players, which Pogba clearly is, that you understand the need for improvement and give him a reason to consider the challenge available at United to be one he would be interested in. A challenge that is huge but potentially rewarding and, crucially, achievable because of the support you are offering.

From the fans. Wind your necks in. Stop telling yourself convenient lies about United, Fergie, ex players etc. Fergie put one thing above everything else. It wasn’t the club. It wasn’t the dressing room. It wasn’t himself. It was winning. Winning. It was always winning. All animals were equal but some were more equal than others. There was no equal treatment of players. There was no shipping out of anyone who questioned if they should play for the club. Listen to those in the dressing room and they’ll tell you that Robbo got special treatment, Eric got special treatment, Ronaldo got special treatment. Because they delivered on the pitch. Remember what former players did. Keane held the club to ransom over his contract. Did Fergie decide no one was bigger than the club and sell him? Did he balls. He got the club to do whatever was necessary to keep him. Paid him more. Bowed to his demands. Why? It would help us win. No ‘ship him out’ rubbish. See Rooney and his flirtation with City. See Ronaldo and getting one more year from him. A performing Pogba makes us better. If you can’t see that, you’re ignoring your eyes and all the evidence. You are getting annoyed with our best and most productive player for not being our even more bestest and productiveingest player. Let’s see what we can do to get that player doing that more often.

This could play out in a few ways. I think, as is often the case in life, there are lots of ways any of the outcomes can be positive or negative (e.g he goes for lots of money and we waste it or we Liverpool/Coutinho it. He stays and is an inspiration to a bolstered and improved squad with a new positive direction or stays and is a toxic influence who stops any positivity and renewal) so stop worrying about what the decision is and instead focus on making whatever the decision is the right decision.

The club are perfectly capable of screwing this up on their own so however this plays out, let’s not bash Pogba with false equivalences based on misremembered rubbish. This summer could be the start of something positive with or without Pogba. It’s Schrodinger’s Pog. Probably won’t be, but at the moment I still have that glimmer of hope.
Andreas, St Albans


Back Pog
Can someone help me understand how Paul Pogba is such a cancer, and a bad apple in the Utd dressing room? Are there any actual confirmed quotes or instances of him behaving like a prima donna, and actually being a bad influence on younger players?

Has he ever announced that he is the best player in the world since Pele? Has he ever been papped on the lash with academy players in tow? In fact, has he ever had any disciplinary issues off the field at Manchester United or anywhere else for that matter?

To me, it seems as if everything we rely upon to create this image of Pogba appears to stem from unconfirmed reports, unsubstantiated quotes and him having a good time and enjoying himself on Social Media.

A quick look at the statistics for the season gives you the true picture of who Pogba is as a player, which has been largely ignored by the media and fans alike. So let’s list them off. In the Premier League for Manchester United, Paul Pogba tops the table for:

-Most Goals
-Most Assists
-Most Shots on Target
-Most Take-Ons
-Most Fouls Won
-Most Chances Created
-Most Possession Won
-Most Passes into the Final Third
-Most Duels Won

So how can such a player be a cancer on the team? Open your eyes people, and stop allowing the media to cloud your judgment based on unconfirmed quotes, and the fact that the man likes to dye his hair and have a dance.

The fact that Utd fans genuinely believe their team will be better off without their best player is laughable. Perhaps even more laughable than the fact that Pogba is used as an excuse as to why Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial haven’t performed this season.

Grown men and elite professionals allegedly can’t perform at their best because they’re being influenced by a “bad apple”. Give me a break. This is professional sport, not high school.

I say all the best to Pogba, and hope he flourishes at whichever club he joins; be it Real Madrid or Juventus. He’s too good to spend his peak years playing Europa League football and battling for a place in the top 6.
Craig Gooner


Mino’s choice
Consumer Dave, you are bang on. With Pogba, with the wrestling analogy, everything.

It probably also explains why Madrid might take him. Even if he doesn’t perform they would see it as a bit of a free hit in terms of shirt sales, added to the fact Zizou rules that dressing room with an authority no one could ever have at United post SAF.

Who am I kidding. Pogba and De Ligt will end up wherever ‘villain in chief’ Raiola picks. It’s that simple.
Aussie Red


Brexit and the bridge
I have zero desire to bring politics in to a football mailbox but I can’t help but draw parallels between the country’s opinion on Brexit and the Chelsea fanbase’s opinion on both Sarri and the seemingly-inevitable appointment of Lampard.

In politics right now, if someone doesn’t agree with your views on Brexit then they must be the enemy. There is very little reasoned, rational discussion taking place across the divide. I’ve found the same happening within the Chelsea fanbase; if you were “Sarri In” then you were a brainwashed cultist and “Sarri Outs” were knuckle draggers who required a footballing education, it was absurd. I’d love to know if it happens in other clubs’ fanbases.

The same is happening with Lampard. If you’re “Lampard In” then you’re a true fan, taking the club back and “Lampard Out” is the enemy who can’t attend any matches at Stamford Bridge.

Having such extreme views like this must be exhausting. It’s mentally draining for me and I sit much more in the middle camp for both managers. Sarri had a lot of downs during the season but the football style was visibly changing (something he was tasked with achieving, don’t forget) and I would definitely have kept him on. I know the reports say he’s heading back for his elderly family and his love of Italy but the cries of “f*ck Sarriball” probably hastened this decision. Lampard is a huge risk for himself and the club. I also worry about how “all in” we’re going with former players – Lampard and Morris in the dugout, Cech in the office with strong rumours of Drogba and Makelele coming back as well. Football doesn’t work as simply as this, generally. But the flip side is we’ve tried extremely experienced and qualified coaches before and it’s not worked out so why not try this?

One thing’s for sure; it’s never boring at the Bridge.
BlueLuke, CFC, When did we all become so entitled?


Johnny Nic on women’s football
I don’t get John Nicholson’s article on Women’s football. He ends it on a positive note but starts the article with a long list of deplorable comments… Presumably to be edgy or provoke a response I guess? He then reveals that most of these comments were made 15 years ago. What was the point? It is harder to express sexist views now than it was 15 years ago. Errr yep I agree obviously. But then also… I don’t agree.

I believe there are 2 types of commenters here. With a fair deal of overlap and people falling into both camps. There’s the real vile stuff. The comments about rape or murder. The people commenting in that way don’t really care about women’s football or how good it is. They care about getting a reaction and the spark of satisfaction or humour or whatever it is that they get from putting someone else down. It affects every minority and shows its head whenever something happens that challenges the comfortable privilege they have come to rely on. Want to put a woman’s picture on the back of a tenner? That’s the worst idea ever and I must express so in the vilest terms. Want a black guy to play James Bond? What is the world coming to!! These comments will never go away. Or at least not in the near future.

Then there are comments that are made out of ignorance. The “inferior product” type of comment. I believe that at least some of the people talking like this can be educated and if we delved deeper into why they think like this it will turn out that they are combining the institutionalised sexism they have grown up with (women can’t parallel park / women can’t throw) with a general indifference and disinterest in women’s football (again perpetuated by the media and cultural downgrading of women’s sport over the decades). They take these factors and express them in a way that makes absolute sense to them… Of course it must be rubbish because I don’t really want to watch it and I like to watch good football. They present it as an objective point of view, probably preceded by the phrase “I’m not sexist, but…” They don’t see that this is prejudiced because they don’t understand or don’t care to try and understand the ingrained cultural sexism that has nudged them to that opinion over the course of their lives.

In summary – people will continue to make stupid, hurtful comments but it’s getting better. Kind of.
James EFC


…Bravo to John Nicholson for his column on the Women’s World Cup- for 98% of all the misogynistic football-loving men out there: professional women footballers run faster and/or longer than you can, pass and head the ball better than you, can conjure up plays at speed that you can only have a wet dream about and have a deeper passion and connection to your sport than you do by virtue of the standard and passion that they play at/with. That has got to hurt you and badly- don’t fight the pain, you have to just learn to accept it.

I am really enjoying the World Cup and when you compare the standard to something like SoccerAid, you can see just how true it is that most men football supporters would be played off the park by most of these women national teams. Nevertheless as a bloke I am not yet fully enlightened. I would probably not go out of my way to watch a women’s football league match, but in the same way I wouldn’t watch an Irish, Turkish or Hungarian league match – so maybe it is ok?
Miguel (Canada’s left back is one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen)


While I agree in almost the entirety of the comparisons and reasoning in the mail of Consumer Dave. I thought it was wel; argued.

The phrase I simply couldnt let go was “Connor McGregor perfected it and turned an average UFC fighter into a household name”

1. Its only a single N.. Conor….

but 2. “Average UFC Fighter”.. I think not Sir! Yes his trash talk was simply wonderful and he was a marketable golden ticket and it did make him a household name, but average he was not!

He beat everyone and anyone, He was a monster. When he lost to Nate he was fighting at weight 2 levels above his own (Conor fought at 145lbs, Nate weighed 170lbs in that fight – There is a 155lbs class in between that..) And he beat him in the rematch! Ridiculous really, Nate was an animal..
He beat legends, he beat champions, he beat whoever they put in front of him until he called his own shots, literally..! Hence the Mayweather money making masterclass madness..
I could go on but no one would read it! Think Cassius Clay (His Momma named him Clay, Im gonna call him Clay..) Or Rocky Marciano. (Every time we talk about boxing a white guy gota mention Rocky Marciano…..)

Average… Ha! Oh to be half that average.. Pogba WISHES he was as ‘average’ as McGregor!

I know its not football but all the more reason to really to provide some level of reality, You cant just go slagging other sports or people to make your point.

But apart from that bit, I fully agree…and the analogy is actually pretty accurate over all,, but I couldn’t let ‘Average’ go

Al LFC. (No Im not Irish)


Gravesend on the box
Not often that the 8th tier of English football gets coverage in the national media but today seems to be a good day for it. Tonight a documentary called “Our Lives: Punjab United” will be airing on BBC One at 7.30pm.

I am lucky enough to be associated with the club and am immensely proud of how far the club has risen is a short time. In times where diversity in our game is questioned there is no doubt that when it comes to football there is only one community that a whole lot of us are a part of.
Parmjeet, Gravesend


Golf is no example
Megalolz at Steve, Los Angeles’ suggestion that Megan Rapinoe and the USWNT can learn anything from golf. In many places, they wouldn’t even be allowed on the course.
Will, LFC

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