United might be powerless to stop the latter, who has calmed down recently with Pogba’s dwindling options to move away from Old Trafford, but they are often told they can fix the former. Pogba’s ability to shine on the international stage is due to a structured system surrounded by exceptional players, which he hasn’t always had at United.
Pogba was not as effective in the dramatic draw with Hungary in Budapest as he did in the fine win over Germany in Munich, but he still showed signs of his quality for The Blues.
The 28-year-old was good for France by playing deeper in a 4-2-3-1 at the 2018 World Cup, but in this tournament he has found a position that arguably gives him even more freedom. . With the return of Karim Benzema, France have played a 4-3-3 so far, with Pogba to the right of the three central midfielders.
With N’Golo Kanté central and Adrien Rabiot playing on the left, Pogba has the support in the midfield to know he can move forward as well. He created France’s goal against Germany with a mind-boggling glare from the straight sideline, floating a lavish pass to Lucas Hernandez. He was also involved in the two goals France turned down in Munich.
This role is very different from the position he has typically held for United in this calendar year. His performances in 2021 for his club were exceptional and he made the difference in several games, but he usually did so from the left wing in a 4-2-3-1. He was brought back to central midfielder for the Europa League final against Villarreal, but under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer United’s 4-2-3-1, the two midfielders were given a lot of defensive responsibilities. , which limits Pogba’s ability to influence the game higher. pitch, which is clearly where it excels.
While Pogba should certainly take some of the blame for not producing the quality of the performances he does for France at United, it is also true that United spent £ 89million on a central midfielder and no ‘then failed to build a team around him. The possibility of that happening disappeared when Bruno Fernandes was signed from Sporting Lisbon in January 2020 and it is the Portuguese playmaker, who will face Pogba in the final Group F game, who is now the beating heart of this team. of United.
Fernandes is United’s 4-2-3-1 No.10 and his returns have been incredible since signing, with 40 goals and 26 assists in his 80 appearances for the club so far. He’s been credited with breaking midfield goal records for United, but he’s hardly a midfielder. He plays such an advanced role, almost as a second striker, that he should be seen as a striker rather than a midfielder.
In November last year, Solskjaer was asked about Fernandes’ goal in midfield and replied: “Midfielder ?! He plays in front. While Fernandes can step back when United are looking for the ball, when they are in control, he plays on the edge of the opposing penalty area.
With Fernandes flourishing in that position, that means Pogba can’t be played in a role that brings out the best in him. Playing it to the left of the three behind the striker has allowed him to influence games in the final third much more than a deeper midfielder role, but United then have plenty of options for that left-winger position. and it’s clearly not perfect for the World Cup winner.
The only way to put Pogba in the same kind of position he thrives in for France is to recalibrate United to 4-3-3, but that would mean Fernandes would become a midfielder, with a more defensive mindset. To do this, you’ll be taking some of those goals and assists out, as it’s impossible to keep producing those numbers when you’re not playing in the same areas of the pitch anymore, and this change in form would mean Fernandes would go from a pure No. 10 to a n ° 8.
On the evidence of his 18 months at the club so far, it would be a dangerous move, so for now United may have to continue trying to find a happy medium for Pogba, who may continue to look better for France than for his club. Therefore.