Paul Pogba wants Manchester United fans to do the impossible
In the interest of fairness, I must admit that I believe Paul Pogba has been unfairly judged by a lot of Manchester United fans this season. On the other hand, if Pogba really expects fans to forget about all the money it cost to bring him to Old Trafford, then he’s truly lost the plot.
During yesterday’s pre-match Europa League press conference Pogba chose to open up about all of the criticism he’s endured this season. The French star went on a fairly long-winded rant about what position he does or doesn’t play and how much his transfer fee has influenced the way fans view his play.
Specifically, Pogba expressed his desire for fans to forget all about his transfer fee. Ideally, he’d like to be judged by the same standards as the rest of his teammates. That all sounds nice, but it’s just not the real world.
In football today, players are assigned different expectations based on the amount of money it cost to acquire them. Pogba isn’t so naive that he doesn’t understand this. When he elected to return to United for a world-record transfer fee he know he was putting a bullseye squarely on his back. Asking fans to forget about that now is a bit like trying to put toothpaste back into the tube.
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What Pogba needs to do is put his head down and focus on his craft. He’s spent far too much time working on his social media image, his celebrations or his hair styles this season. By putting so much energy in those ancillary tasks, he’s made himself even more of a target.
If United were sailing along towards another Premier League title then he could get away with all of the non-football things in his life. That reality may put a strain on his personal life, but that’s part of the deal. He gets paid an extraordinary amount of money to play a game many people love to play for free. The tradeoff is that he has to become a public figure and accept the lack of privacy that comes along with that.
Paul Pogba is one of the most expensive, and most talented football players in the world. He can’t ask fans to judge him like anything other than that. To whom much is given, much is expected. The sooner Pogba learns that the sooner he’ll reach his full potential as a player. His latest comments show you that he isn’t near his mental peak.