Paul Pogba is under the microscope as he faces criticism by French supporters.
French football’s most expensive player was booed off when substituted during a warm-up match against Italy prior to the World Cup. France’s 3-1 friendly victory over Italy on June 1 at the Allianz Riviera was a positive outcome for the French team but had a negative impact for the 25-year-old.
Former Marseille player Eric Di Meco claimed Pogba was still playing only because of his reputation, and that Bayern Munich midfielder Corentin Tolisso should take the centre of the pitch instead.
“Some players have two bad games and you no longer see them in the France team,” Di Meco said
“He has almost unlimited credit — and it is no longer possible.”
Boss Didier Deschamps responded by claiming Pogba was “indispensable”, but also urged him to raise his game in Russia.
Kylian Mbappe was quick to point out after the match against Italy that this type of criticism is common in a demanding crowd such as the French.
“He plays abroad, so he’s not used to it,” the Paris Saint-Germain forward said. “I’m going to explain to him that it’s like that here. I played with it all year. You have to get used to it. We put our earplugs in and score goals.”
Mbappe continued to say that “He is a midfielder, not an attacker. We’re not asking him to score every match but to bring his physical presence, his vision.
“I have the feeling that whatever he does, people say he should always do more. We should admire the player he is.
Rather than standing on the shoulders of giants like Platini and Zidane, Pogba is desperately clamouring to become their equal. That in itself is a formidable task. However, Pogba still has a career to finish before anyone can compare him to the level of Platini and Zidane.
France share World Cup Group C with Denmark, Peru, and Australia, who they kick-start their campaign against on Saturday.
Pogba registered six goals and ten assists in 27 Premier League appearances this term.