Paul Pogba should avoid biting back at criticism from the likes of Roy Keane and Gary Neville, says fellow Frenchman Frank Leboeuf, with the Manchester United midfielder told he still has questions to answer at Old Trafford.
A World Cup winner has continued to star for his country during a second spell in English football, but those heroics are not being replicated at club level.
That has led to constant criticism being aimed in the 27-year-old’s direction, while speculation regarding a possible move elsewhere is seemingly never far away.
The rumour mill has ticked back into gear of late, with Pogba’s agent, Mino Raiola, claiming that the France international’s time in the Premier League is “over”.
Those comments were delivered in the build-up to a crucial Champions League clash with RB Leipzig which ultimately cost United their place in elite European competition, and the timing of that outburst has been queried by many – including a number of former United stars.
Pogba has hit back at those lining up to knock him down, pointing out on Instagram that he remains “1000%” committed to the Red Devils cause and that “when you don’t know what’s going on inside, don’t talk”.
That response could have been aimed in any number of different directions, with Leboeuf hoping that a divisive character is not looking to enter into a war of words with club icons in Manchester.
The 1998 World Cup winner told ESPN FC of his fellow Frenchman: “I don’t know who that tweet is addressed to.
“If it is addressed to Bild, maybe Pogba can be right to respond to that. If it is addressed to Keane or Neville, legends of Manchester United who know what they are talking about and want to defend their club, then you cannot say that.
“I could have said something and Pogba could have said ‘Frank Leboeuf be quiet, you didn’t play for Manchester United so why do you talk?’ But Keane and Neville want to defend Manchester United when they see what they don’t want to see.
“I sent a post to Bixente Lizarazu during the French national team games where I said that maybe we don’t have a clear understanding of what is going on with Pogba in England compared to what we see with the national team.
“Paul Pogba runs and plays well when he plays for the national team, which is not the case at United.
“In the derby [a 0-0 draw with City on Saturday] he wasn’t the worst, he was pretty good, but there is something very different in the behaviour of Paul Pogba with Manchester United and with the national team. He is the only one who has an answer for that.”
When it was put to him that Pogba has a right to respond to former United stars when they take aim at him and not their ex-colleague Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – who has struggled to deliver consistency as Red Devils boss – Leboeuf added: “I guess Keane and Neville are not blind enough to say ‘Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is doing great and we are going to defend him’. They have to say the truth. They cannot say BS.
“What they see is not enough from Paul Pogba. You can’t defend a former team-mate all the time if he makes mistakes.”
Pogba has taken in 15 appearances for United across all competitions this season, with only two goals and as many assists contributed to the collective cause through those outings.