Former Liverpool midfielder Graeme Souness has encouraged Paul Pogba to play more like Maroaune Fellaini at Manchester United.
The Frenchman has made a blistering start to the 2017/18 campaign, claiming two goals, two assists, two ‘Man of the Match’ awards, a ‘Player of the Month’ and ‘Goal of the Month’ award for August.
He was duly handed the armband for the clash with FC Basel but limped off with a hamstring problem after just 16 minutes, paving the way for Fellaini to help United to a 3-0 win with a powerful performance from the bench.
And Souness, speaking after the game, had the nerve to call Pogba a ‘YouTube’ footballer and urged him to keep it simple in the future.
“I want to see Paul Pogba do what [Marouane] Fellaini does: pop it off nice and simple,” he said.
“I’m not saying he [Fellaini] is a better option, what I’m saying is he’s a bigger threat – he’s more effective. He’s not easy on the eye, he’s a bit of a thug at times, which doesn’t make him a bad guy.
“I want to see Pogba in midfield, get the ball, pop it off simple occasionally, or a clever pass, but the moment it goes wide… get into the box because I know that Paul Pogba has the legs to get into the box and then the legs to get back into his position in midfield, like he didn’t do tonight when he ended up on the right.
“That’s the question mark I have against him. He’s got technique. He’s a bit of a YouTuber, isn’t he?”
I could explore why Souness is wrong here in detail and point towards the importance of Pogba’s fluid, expressionist style to United’s overall momentum moving forward, but that isn’t actually necessary.
The point that needs to be made is this: Pogba is new, exciting and very much the future. He is, in many ways, the face of the next generation of elite footballers – or at least one of them.
Souness, on the other hand, belongs to a generation slowly dying out and losing its relevance in today’s wider society. The rhetoric of the Scot used to rule the public conversation. But the onus has shifted away from people like him. Indeed, the world has evolved and he has not. One day, individuals like Souness will no longer even enter the frame.
And deep down, Souness knows this. Souness knows that his voice is being pushed to the periphery and comments like these, in turn, are necessary to stay afloat.