In the absence of live sport, it was the best we could have hoped for.
A return of fire and the start of hostilities in the quarrel between Paul Pogba and Graeme Souness.
The absent Manchester United midfielder says he has never heard of one of the best British footballers of all time.
Then, the Sky Sports princely pundit responding to the age-old challenge: “Put your medals on the table. “
And as Souness said, “I have a fairly large table. “
Twenty-two major trophies as player and manager, including three European Cups as brutal artistic director of the Liverpool midfielder.
Souness leads 3-0 in the European Cups and 5-0 in the English titles, but Pogba has nine significant trophies to his credit, including a World Cup.
But with Pogba having turned 27, and after missing most of last year, Souness is one of many to believe that the Frenchman can never do full justice to his immense talents.
The Scot says Pogba is a “game of chance to play against.” And how we would all have liked to see a Souness pic come out and try to prove his point.
Although the two may also have formed a wonderful partnership between the midfielder and the midfielder. Especially if Pogba was inclined to listen to Souness urging him to increase his pace of work.
Anyway, for the hungry sports executives at Sky, it was all just the windfall.
What had often seemed to be more of a one-sided vendetta on Souness’s part, became a real speech with Pogba’s comments on the official Manchester United podcast.
Souness went to work armed with Michaelangelo’s chisel as well as the phalanges of the Kray twins. ”
Souness says he manages to distance himself socially on seaside walks near his home in Dorset – rather than getting out of dog walkers and knee joggers.
Still, it’s still kind of Sky giving him access to a webcam so he can vent his frustrations while locking.
The battle lines in the emotional Souness-Pogba debate were drawn long ago.
Those of us who are old enough to marvel at Souness in his pomp will remember how he went to work armed with Michaelangelo’s chisel and the phalanxes of the Kray twins.
Those of us who are fortunate enough to know him will also swear it.
Current players tend to favor Pogba – a fabulous talent with a charismatic presence on social networks.
After Souness’ final remarks, Declan Rice, of England and West Ham, asked, “Why do people hate Pogba? That does not make any sense. “
Young players, fans and journalists often caricature Souness like a bitter old T-Rex grumbling about the good old days.
Some even suggest sinister motives behind his criticism of Pogba.
However, Souness is a much more complex and enlightened man than these stereotypists would have us believe.
As proof, I would suggest some possible examples.
Liverpool’s first black player Howard Gayle says in his autobiography that he was bullied by racial abuse by Tommy Smith before finally facing the legendary former club captain on the training ground threatening to beat him with a baseball bat.
Gayle writes: “Graeme Souness was the only one who came immediately after. “Well done, Howard,” he said, “Tommy deserved it.” Graeme was a true leader. “
And last year, Souness – who considered the late camp king Dale Winton one of his closest friends – spoke out passionately against homophobia in football after attending the Gay Pride march from Brighton.
So we’re definitely not talking about an Alf Garnett character here.
Nor is Souness a hypocrite who would overly criticize Pogba’s out-of-scope socialization.
He was part of a Liverpool team that drank like pirates, as he readily admits.
However, when Souness takes his verbal Molotovs out of the pandit chair, he is certainly not playing with a fake character of Mr. Grumpy.
He simply has a deep and genuine hatred of footballers who do not work hard enough and fail to realize their potential.
He was hit in Anfield in the 1970s and never left him – an old-school attitude that made him admit that he could no longer be a manager after leaving Newcastle at the age of 52.
Witnessing an underachievement seems to offend and even hurt Souness.
He once told me that watching Arsenal in the final years of Arsene Wenger’s reign made him so angry that he was really worried about the effects it would have on his own heart condition.
And Pogba, whose attitude infuriated Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and his predecessor Jose Mourinho, falls firmly in the same category when it comes to Souness.
He thinks that the Frenchman has the qualities to become the greatest player in the world but that he is too lazy and selfish to achieve this status.
Pogba says, “One day maybe I will meet them (the critics) and ask them because I really want to know why (they criticize). “
Well, Souness would be happy to meet the United man and discuss their differences – and Sky clearly would like them to see him on camera.
Perhaps they could find a face-to-face meeting to provide us with an essential television during this lockdown.
Pogba would certainly learn a thing or two from Souness.
And maybe Souness and the rest of us could also learn more about what drives Pogba.
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