‘Everyone’s a little against him’ – Pogba’s former coach backs France star

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Had the 25-year-old not burst onto the scene so spectacularly, he would be considered a fine player, argues the ex-national Under-21 boss

France international star Paul Pogba is a victim of his own success, according to Pierre Mankowski, who is a former coach of the Manchester United midfielder.

Much of the focus ahead of the World Cup with regards the France side has fallen on Pogba, and in particular how the man who was once the most expensive player in world football has failed to live up to such a billing.

It is something that the player admits frustrates him and Mankowski believes that such criticism of the 25-year-old is unjust.

“Everyone is always a little against him,” he told Le Parisien. “We always think he can do more. But he matured very quickly.

“If he had only appeared today, we’d say he is a good player. We expect so much of him because he was such a phenomenon at 19. 

“Everyone praised him, he was extraordinary. He was already drawing the spotlight. It pleased the media, too, and he was given extraordinary coverage.

“It may not have served him well. Today, he still has his level, but we already want to see him improve.

“What harms him is the way he is on the park. He appears laidback, you never have the impression that he’s sprinting to get the ball. His rhythm is always unusual. He has this great muscle mass, he carries his head high.”

The player’s self-assurance is also something often considered to be a weakness, but Mankowski does not think that will alter.

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“He’s always believed in himself a great deal,” he revealed. “Initially, it was seen as something charging; it was said that this attitude could take him very far. But today it’s almost too much.

“We want him to progress constantly and be a prodigy. But he’s a human being and must be hurt by being criticised. He must not lose confidence and begin to doubt himself. We know what he’s worth and what he can bring. He won’t change now.”

Pogba has won 53 caps for his country and has scored nine goals. He is expected to be a central figure in Didier Deschamps’ side this summer as they attempt to win a second World Cup, with their group consisting of Peru, Denmark and Australia, who they face first in Russia.

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