The criticism being aimed at Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba is “unfair”, says Louis Saha, with the Frenchman required to provide “magic”, not leadership.
A World Cup winner took in another eventful campaign in 2018-19.
He started the season as captain under Jose Mourinho and finished it with more questions being asked of his future as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer pieces together plans at Old Trafford.
The 26-year-old delivered plenty of memorable showings, helping himself to 16 goals and a place in the PFA Team of the Year.
More criticism has come his way, though, with many questioning the role of an £89 million ($112m) asset and his ability to become a talismanic presence.
Saha feels that debate is missing the point, with a fellow Frenchman never going to be a Roy Keane type who drags his team-mates along with him.
“I am really a big fan of Paul,” the former United striker said in The Mirror.
“You target leadership for the best players in the team and Paul is definitely one of them, so the pressure is always on him. But it’s unfair on him to have this burden all of the time because the set-up of the team is not built with leaders around him – and perhaps that is not his best quality.
“Of course, he brings a special quality because he can do special things, but I don’t think leadership is his strength.
“So let’s find the right people to be around him because he can do magic. That’s what he has been bought by United to do – rather than as a Roy Keane-type or others that you can compare.
“When I see what is happening with Paul, I would say it is unfair to ask him to do something unnatural to him.”
Pogba is not the only France international at Old Trafford to have seen his value called into question.
Anthony Martial has faced similar struggles for consistency, but he is another that Saha believes remains integral to the Red Devils cause.
He added: “Of course, they have great talent and I have to say I’m jealous. It is as simple as that. You look at those guys and they can do everything.
“But the thing is it’s unfair to focus on one aspect of their game that is not one of their strong qualities.
“As for Anthony, he is the type of player, who, on his day, is unplayable, but, again, he needs a role model that will give him a target to go for and set a tone for working harder.
“In my view, it’s not fair to target those two French players. It is about the squad and the squad right now is not there. Every day in a group is about getting the best out of the personnel.
“For instance, a player like Gary Neville was essential for me as a striker. Every day he would be there on my back making sure I get it. I knew that every time I missed an opportunity or a dribble then he would be on my back.
“Those days have gone now and that is why I think Ole has some work to do. I think United have to find some new leaders.”