Former Manchester United midfielder Owen Hargreaves believes that Paul Pogba has been unfairly judged at Old Trafford this season.
The Frenchman, ever since arriving over the summer for a world record £89m fee, has been subject to criticism for his performances in midfield and off-field antics.
He was removed from the fray against FC Rostov after picking up a hamstring injury, with Jose Mourinho later confirming that the 24-year-old would miss out on the game against Middlesbrough.
And Hargreaves, speaking after Man United’s 1-0 win over the Russian side, was quick to leap to Pogba’s defence.
“People are judging the price tag, people are judging the haircuts and these flash other things that they see,” he said.
“But if you look at his stats, this is what you get. 10 goals, 10 assists – that’s him. They paid that money for him and he’s virtually on course [to hit those numbers this season].”
Mourinho was spot on when he noted that it wasn’t Pogba’s fault that he cost such an astronomical fee over the summer. The Frenchman has been on a sensational journey, leaving Old Trafford as a teenager and returning four years later, fresh from dominating Serie A, to feature at the nucleus of this new-look United side, and all he has received in return is vitriol from all corners.
This is, of course, down to the fact that, for some reason, bystanders expect Pogba to pay back the £89m United shelled out for him in one season, where in actual fact the underlying purpose behind the Frenchman’s inclusion stretches far beyond that.
Mourinho wanted a midfielder capable of thriving at the axis of United’s midfield for a number of years, and his buoyancy and innovation alongside the likes of Michael Carrick and Ander Herrera so far this season suggests he will not let his boss down.