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'He must raise his level' - Deschamps wants more from 'indispensable' Pogba

10:57 AM GMT 03/06/2018
Paul Pogba France 2018
Although the coach thinks that the booing of the midfielder was unjust in midweek, he is adamant that the 26-year-old can give his side more

France boss Didier Deschamps has done his best to shield midfielder Paul Pogba from critics but did accept that Manchester United star must raise his level.

Pogba started France’s 3-1 friendly victory over Italy earlier this week in Nice but had a difficult time making an impression and was even booed by his own supporters.

Numerous team-mates, including Corentin Tolisso, came out in support of the 25-year-old after those incidents, and head coach Deschamps, who had also previously criticised the jeers, has also weighed in with his assessment of the player’s performance.

“I’m not going to question him because I know the potential of Paul,” Deschamps told TF1’s ‘Telefoot’ programme. “I know what he’s capable of, but he must raise his level of play. 

“If I’ve picked him, it’s because for me he is indispensable.

“I’ve got confidence in him, just as I’ve got confidence in the other players that I have chosen. I’ll pick him again.

“He wasn’t successful in everything he did, but he contributed to the team, which was well organised.”

Pogba has played 53 times for his country and has scored nine goals, the latest of which was in a recent 3-1 friendly success over Russia

Meanwhile, attacker Antoine Griezmann, who found the net against the Azzurri, said: “We’re on the right track, we won, but we’ve still got lots of things to work on and to learn. 

“We must find the right tactics, the best system for the team. The coach is considering what must be his tactics for the first match at the World Cup.”

France are in Group C, which sees them face Australia, Peru and Denmark as they chase their second world crown. 

Two years ago, they earned valuable major-tournament experience as they finished as runners-up to Portugal in Euro 2016 on home soil. 

Griezmann was one of the stars of that competition, and with 20 goals in 53 caps for Les Bleus is expected to be one of their leaders in Russia. 

Before the competition begins, though, they have the opportunity to refine their tactics just once more as they face the USA in a clash on June 9, which will take place in Lyon.