Former Manchester United striker Diego Forlan has come out in defence of Paul Pogba, insisting that the Frenchman will deliver at Old Trafford.
The 24-year-old has been on the receiving end of widespread scrutiny from all corners of the footballing world ever since arriving in Manchester for a world record £89m fee back in August.
Jose Mourinho, when asked about the criticism thrown in Pogba’s direction following Man United’s 1-0 defeat at Chelsea, was quick to leap to the Frenchman’s defence, noting that his enormous price tag – a popular point of reference for critics – was not his fault.
And Forlan, speaking to National, also expressed his support for the Pogba, noting that next season would see the midfielder fully come into his own.
“Though he already has a lot of experience and far more international caps than the former players now criticising him had when they were the same age, he’s still young and still to reach his physical and mental peak,” he said.
“He can play at the top level for another 12 years. He’s also at a club which can be patient, which is stable and where players are usually given time to develop and supported in a really professional environment.
“The fans are patient too and I speak from experience when I took a lot longer than I would have hoped to score my first goal at Old Trafford. As a player you appreciate that massively – because there’s nothing as bad as when your own fans turn on you.
“I think you’ll see a better Pogba next season, a player more relaxed with a proper pre-season behind him because he didn’t have that this season.
“He also had all the fuss around his move from Juventus to Manchester, a major event in football which must have been distracting, if not for him, then his family too.”
The fact that pundits and observers elect to berate Pogba – more than anybody else – as soon as United demonstrate any signs of weakness is indeed a testament to the Frenchman’s superstar status in the modern game.
What we are seeing with Pogba and the watching world is a simple exercise of human nature. People simply cannot stand it when somebody rises to stardom in such lucrative fashion, so this is what they do: berate, chastise, spew and cry over the sight of someone living the dream, but one suspects that Pogba – who will, without doubt, continue to develop further – doesn’t care one bit.