Sorry Pogba, but it's time for you to leave
It is usually a straight-forward with Red Devils’ fans: Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Gary Neville are adored. Ryan Giggs holds a special place in our hearts, even though I suspect he’s far away from his brother’s.
Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo, who tried angling for moves away from the club to different degrees of success, are still admired until now. Even Robin Van Persie, who came in from rivals Arsenal and won one title, is worshipped still, although the same can’t be said for Michael Owen, who has gone back to his Liverpool-loving ways.
Then there’s the Frenchman.
Yes, he’s definitely Manchester United’s best player, on paper. The World Cup winner is a bona fide star, which is definitely not what you can say about his BFF, Jesse Lingard.
Pogba was, after all, the leader in all statistical departments last season according to Twitter - which I assume has fact-checked (that’s too much work for me).
Even this season, with just five league appearances so far, he is still ranked joint-third within the Man Utd squad in assists, eighth for total touches, eighth for tackles, sixth for total passes made… you get the point. The stats do suggest that he’s way better than any other midfield options that the Red Devils currently have.
It’s more obvious than JK Rowling’s plan for Harry Potter to defeat Voldermort.
I used to think that Pogba was going to be United’s saviour. I jumped for joy when Pogba re-signed for United back in 2016, celebrating as though I was the one who was earning millions every week. I even supported him when Jose Mourinho started chastising him publicly, although to be fair, it was the classic Mourinho third-season syndrome.
But this past weekend was the final straw. Even the disappointment of watching Dimitar Berbatov at the National Stadium flailing about on the pitch at the weekend having been so excited beforehand wasn’t enough to take my mind off it.
During the international break, several players who hadn’t been called up to their national teams - which these days happen more often than not for Man Utd players, sadly - flew out to Dubai to get some extra warm-weather training under their belt together, even though they were given time off.
The group included Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Lee Grant, Andreas Pereira, Axel Tuanzebe, Marcos Rojo, Juan Mata, Ashley Young and Fred. Now I know I’ve said plenty about how Mata is past it, while Pereira and Fred aren’t probably talented enough to don the famous red jersey, but their commitment surely can’t be faulted.
I was even surprised to see Tuanzebe’s name among the group, given that he was supposedly injured, but not that surprised to see Lingard missing, probably off searching for a manual that teaches him how to be a proper footballer, or businessman - since he doesn’t appear to be succeeding in either.
Meanwhile, Pogba was off in Miami… watching the NBA. And perhaps, visiting the same nightclubs that Houston Rockets star James Harden is often found in (no judging here, everyone’s got their own little secret).
But it was Pogba himself who said that he was “gutted” about his team’s defeat against Bournemouth a fortnight ago. He added: “To see the team lose without being able to play is the worst. I would like to be back to help them but the most important thing is to heal.”
I would think that heading to Dubai with the rest of his teammates to train together would have been a more sensible option than heading to the NBA to watch the Miami Heat. Besides, it’s early in the season for the NBA and Pogba would have been better off heading to Miami in May, when the Premier League season wraps up and the NBA is just beginning to head into the more exciting playoff games - which would have meant better value for money.
And at 26, he is looked up as one of the leaders in the squad. And the best player. He would have made a statement that he was a team player had he gone to Dubai and joined his teammates. Afterall, Pogba had previously spoken about wanting the captain’s armband - and he could have gone to Dubai to snatch it from Young, under the watchful eyes of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Instead, we see a Pogba who doesn’t care. It’s classic NATO - No Action, Talk Only.
Even in Miami, he wasn’t seen wearing any club colours. It has been almost a month since he posted anything about the Red Devils on his social media channels, too.
United fans have shown that they aren’t afraid to turn their backs on talented players who can’t be bothered. Just ask Angel Di Maria.
We appreciate players who, though not as talented, work hard. Like Darren Fletcher. Or even Scott McTominay. And more recently, even Fred (who, by the way, I should apologise to for writing off so quickly).
So it’s time to move on. Pogba, you can go ahead to Real Madrid and rot. Or go back to Juventus, where you will play second fiddle to Cristiano Ronaldo. Or join the NBA.
Enough is enough. It is time for a clean break. Even though we’ll always look back at you, and think of what might have been.
Tagged: Andreas pereira, Ashley young, Axel tuanzebe, Cristiano ronaldo, Darren fletcher, David beckham, Dimitar berbatov, Fred, Gary neville, Jesse lingard, Juventus, Manchester united, Michael owen, Nba, Ole gunnar solskjaer, Paul pogba, Paul scholes, Real madrid, Red devils, Robin van persie, Ryan giggs, Scott mctominay