FIFA World Cup 2018: Paul Pogba look to overcome lean run for France
World Cup Appearances: 5
World Cup Goals: 1
It hasn’t been smooth sailing for Paul Pogba since his world record move from Juventus to Manchester United in the summer of 2016. Despite winning the League Cup and the Europa League in his first season since returning to United, Pogba’s second stint at the club has been plagued by a lack of consistency. It has also been symptomatic of the club’s overall form under manager Jose Mourinho. (FIFA World Cup 2018 Schedule)
Pogba, however, remains a key member at both club and country. The fact that he already has 52 international caps with France at the age of 25 is testament his importance to the Didier Deschamps-coached side. Two years back, he was a crucial cog in France’s run to the final of the European Championship.
In Russia this summer, France head into the World Cup as one of the pre-tournament favourites. Arguably the strongest of the 32 teams on paper, France have an abundance of talent in all departments. Pogba’s form, however, is likely to have a major bearing on France’s fate.
The United midfielder will be the key to making the likes of Antoine Griezmann tick up front. A major point of contention over Pogba will be his position in midfield.
At United this past season, Pogba’s creative game was more prominent whenever he was given the protection of two midfielders behind him. Coach Deschamps is likely to keep Blaise Matuidi in the team but the Juventus player could be accompanied by Corintin Tolisso or N’Golo Kante in central midfield to offer Pogba a more attacking role.
After a season where Pogba came under heavy criticism for his patchy form with United, success at the World Cup will not only silence his critics but will also help him take a major step towards establishing himself as one of the greats of the game. However, if he flatters to deceive in Russia, the knives will be out for Pogba.
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