Less than two months ago Paul Pogba won the greatest prize in world football. He was hailed as a master of the midfield as he represented his country with spectacular form and style.
Fast-forward to September and it is safe to say that things seem to have gone downhill for the Frenchman, having faced a difficult return to club football after his extended summer break.
Minus United’s opening game under the bright lights of Old Trafford against Leicester where the Pogba score a penalty within the first five minutes of the game, his return to the Premier League has been weak.
He was hardly noticeable against Brighton and Tottenham, two games where Pogba had a golden opportunity to stand up, be counted, and prove his critics wrong.
The final straw came when the 25-year-old missed a penalty in United’s must-win game over Burnley, which thankfully the Reds were still able to take three points form despite his error.
Solving an issue like Pogba is the million-dollar question. The Frenchman is unable to match his international performances at club level, and is almost like a different player when he puts on a red shirt.
He seems to be a shadow of the player who graced Russia’s pitches, with his impressive ability to dominate midfield and create excellent chances only appearing every so often for United.
Many fans will be quick to point the finger to Jose Mourinho, or rumours of Pogba’s short shelf life at United with a transfer to Barcelona looming in the headlines, which has been ignited by the likes of Gerard Pique, Luis Suarez and Pogba’s outspoken agent.
However, the player himself has to take some of the blame.
He seems uninterested and hardly quick to shut down rumours of being unhappy at United, and has become a frustrating figure for fans to watch, who attend games week in week out and are made to guess as to which Pogba they will be watching every weekend.
Whilst many will be scratching their heads trying to find a solution to the Pogba problem, perhaps an international break could be the answer?
I think that a trip to France for the Nations League to remind the 25-year-old of his capabilities and just how far he has come as a midfielder could be the way to get him back on track with the Reds.
The opportunity to play in front of his country who are still celebrating their World Cup win will be a great confidence boost which is something he will hopefully bring back to Manchester.
Some fans were surprised to see Pogba take the captain’s armband in United’s fixture with Leicester, but in light of the fact that Pogba was praised for his leadership role in Russia, it is clear why Mourinho selected the 25-year-old.
With France’s captain Hugo Lloris unavailable due to injury many expected Pogba to take the captain’s armband, something manager Didier Deschamps categorically ruled out, stating that he will be relying on his vice captains Blaise Matuidi and Raphael Varane. He said:
“Although Paul did great things at the World Cup, I do not intend to upset the established order.”
I think it is a good move from Deschamps to not give Pogba the armband. This international break needs to run smoothly for the midfielder, and the added pressure of captaincy is not something he needs at this moment.
United fans, including myself, will be hoping that time in France will prove to be a positive for Pogba, and playing positive football for his nation may be exactly what he needs in order to reignite his United career.
*all odds are subject to change