Commentary

Paul Pogba, a victim of his own talent?

French national team coach Didier Deschamps has worries like few other World Cup coaches.

On just about any other national team, Paul Pogba would be an automatic choice to start in Russia. On Saturday night, the Manchester United star should start against the USA at Lyon's Groupama Stadium, where he will be playing for a spot in France's starting lineup at the World Cup.

In Pogba's mind, the question is where on the field he should play. His critics wonder whether the 25-year-old midfielder should be on the field at all.

Pogba got himself in hot water when in a rare interview in the magazine France Football he said the national team lacked leaders and he could be one if only he was placed in the best position on the field to succeed.

But after a mediocre performance in France's 3-1 win over Italy in its second World Cup tune-up, many have suggested the French midfield would be better off with young Bayern Munich midfielder France midfielder Corentin Tolisso starting in his place.

Deschamps said he was not worried about Pogba's form, and he had talked with him about his performance in the Italy game.

"He knows it -- I've spoken to him -- that it wasn't his best match, that's for sure," said Deschamps at Friday's press conference before the France-USA game. "I know that we speak about Paul a lot. He's a midfielder, he's not a No. 10, he's not a forward. He can score and help others to score."

Deschamps suggested that Pogba is a victim of his talent.

"He's a complete midfielder," said the French coach, a more limited midfielder in his playing days. "He can do everything. But he can't do everything. There's a nuance."

It would be hard to imagine that Pogba doesn't start against Australia next Saturday in Kazan. Deschamps said the team he'll start in the opener will be close to the team that starts against the USA.

Deschamps' other decisions ...

Giroud in attack? Another likely starter in the 4-3-1-2 against the USA -- with the idea he'll start against Australia -- is Olivier Giroud, a forward who is often maligned in France and England, where he now plays for Chelsea, but still produces for Deschamps.

Giroud, who scored his first goal for France in its 1-0 win over the USA in 2011, scored his 31st goal in the 2-0 win over Ireland, tying him with Zinedine Zidane for fourth place on France's all-time scoring list behind Thierry Henry (51), Michel Platini (41) and David Trezeguet (34).

Sidibe and Mendy? Djibril Sidibe and Benjamin Mendy, former teammates at Monaco, were both injured for parts of the 2017-18 season, but they are still Deschamps' first choices ahead of Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez, who chose France over Spain. Sidibe and Mendy will start on Saturday.

2 comments about "Paul Pogba, a victim of his own talent?".
  1. frank schoon, June 9, 2018 at 11:28 a.m.

    Pogba is a good player behind the ball not in front of it. Pogba, should play as a centerback.He has all the qualities and MORE to play as a centerback. Here is the difference, most centerbacks ,today, are stiffs, a la the English types. This position, today, has reduced the beauty and dynamics of the game. Beckenbauer was a midfield attacker, although originally he began as a right wing. He moved one line further back and became a libero/defender who employed his attacking abilities by moving up with the ball. This freed up his midfielders by having not to come back for the ball, it also eliminated the midfielders of having their back facing downfield upon receiving the ball. But more importantly, by moving up it creates numerical superiority at midfield, creating the open man you try to find around midfield.
    With Pogba coming up with the ball an opponent midfielder is forced to leave his own man to pick Pogba up for he is just too good to be left alone.This results in shifts creating an open space to take advantage of for further attacks.And positionally it allows the midfielders to shift and turn their body in an more open angle  to facilitate a quicker pass to next forward station.
    This is what is missing in today's soccer. Although it appears the game is fast ,because you see a lot of fast players running, the speed of the game is not player speed but ball speed and that the most important factor when it comes to a fast game. The speed or tempo of the ball is how you measure the speed of the game and that is wanting and one more thing another factor for a speedy game is thinking. Like Cruyff stated " Soccer is played with the head and carried out with the feet".

    I hope the next coach of the US team will introduce some of those new changes. 

  2. uffe gustafsson, June 9, 2018 at 5:09 p.m.

    Did you CC the French coach.LOL

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