Paul Pogba remains “the best midfielder in Europe on his day” despite enduring a “horrendous last 18 months” at Manchester United, says Phil Neville.
The 25-year-old midfielder has endured a testing time since returning to Old Trafford in a record-breaking £89 million ($113m) deal in 2016.
He has thrived on the international stage with France, helping them to World Cup glory over the summer, but has been unable to produce consistent displays at club level.
Jose Mourinho’s apparent reluctance to play him in a favoured playmaking post did Pogba few favours, but those shackles have been released in the wake of the Portuguese’s departure.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is now getting the best out of a key man, with the freedom to express himself having delivered an impressive showing at Cardiff and two goals in a 3-1 victory over Huddersfield.
Former United star Neville told BBC’s Match of the Day of a rejuvenated Pogba: “You play for Man United and you talk of freedom of expression, exciting football, go out there and score goals, attacking football, play with a smile on your face and it starts with the manager.
“Ole over the last couple of games has been really happy, saying the right things.
“They had the best player on the pitch and probably the best midfielder in Europe on his day in Paul Pogba who has had a disappointing, horrendous last 18 months at the club because of the fall-out with the manager.
“It looked like the shackles were off, playing with that freedom of expression, anything is possible type attitude, playing with arrogance. The passing was back to his best.
“Look, he is the best player at the club when he is at his best and with performances like this he should be a 12-15 goal a season person – he hasn’t been that in his career so far but he can be.”
Neville believes change was required at Old Trafford ahead of the January window, as there was a very real threat that Pogba would have moved on over the window had Mourinho remained at the helm.
He added: “I think they would [have lost him]. The relationship was gone. It was clear at that point.
“He was sat on the bench at the end. But in the last few games he has been fantastic.”
Pogba and United will be back in action on Sunday when they wrap up their Premier League efforts for 2018 with a home date against Bournemouth.