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9 assists in 13 games: Is Paul Pogba not getting enough credit this season?

Pogba is finally showing why Mourinho rates him so highly

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Manchester United v FK Rostov - UEFA Europa League Round of 16: Second Leg
Paul Pogba in action

 

When Manchester United shelled out around £89m to re-sign Paul Pogba from Juventus in the summer of 2016, many eyebrows were raised. Here was a player that had failed to make the grade at Old Trafford in his first spell in the Premier League, but many acknowledged that he had improved in what is a very tactical league.

The 23-year-old was seen as the key to making United champions again under new manager, Jose Mourinho and while United would promptly win two trophies, the jury was still out on his impact since making the big money move.

He tried to do too much last season and his overall decision making was poor, leading to suggestions that United had simply signed him to avoid other clubs getting his signature, a lesson Chelsea learnt with Mohamed Salah and Kevin De Bruyne. This season, Pogba has looked almost unplayable in the middle of the park and has shown more maturity. Barring the red card he picked up in the victory over Arsenal back in December, Pogba has been pretty consistent.

With the presence of Serbian enforcer, Nemanja Matic, Pogba is no longer shackled and has more creative freedom going forward. Despite missing close to 2 months with injury this season, he is level with City’s De Bruyne at the top of the assists chart in the league with 9. While the Belgian’s total has come in 23 matches, Pogba has hit that tally in just 13 games, a fantastic return indeed.

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Mourinho previously stated that he sees the player as a future United captain, as his personality, commitment, winning mentality and love for the club sees him ticks all boxes. For a manager that has had the likes of Terry, Zanetti and Casillas as his go-to men on the pitch, it shows that Mourinho sees him as a leader of men that will command respect in the dressing room. Last season, Pogba struggled to deal with the weight of expectations placed on his shoulders by the transfer fee and English press, as he tried too hard to impress, thereby falling short ultimately.

He has captained the side on a number of occasions this term, though he has been criticised for some of his performances by Paul Scholes. The United legend indirectly played a hand in Pogba leaving the club in the first place back in 2012. The midfielder had retired from professional football in the summer of 2011 but was recalled by Sir Alex Ferguson to come and help the team, a fact that was not lost on Pogba, who at that time trying to break into the team.

Pogba felt that the manager didn’t trust him enough and left on a free transfer to join Juventus in Italy where he quickly blossomed into one of the world’s best players. He will fight tooth and nail for Mourinho who stood by him despite criticism from all quarters.

While United are still a work in progress and won’t most likely in the league this year, the rise of Pogba from an also-ran to a leader in the club is a highlight and one that is likely to lead to more success in the nearest future

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