Thierry Henry has hailed Paul Pogba for producing a performance evocative of his time at Juventus during Manchester United’s 2-0 win over Everton.
The Frenchman was consigned to a deep midfield role against Southampton and, much to the side’s detriment, couldn’t have an impact on the game further forward.
And Jose Mourinho, in response, placed Ander Herrera next to Nemanja Matic at Goodison Park and gave Pogba a freer role further up the pitch to devastating effect, with the 24-year-old totally dominating the final third in the second half.
Speaking after the game, Henry noted that the license to roam handed to Pogba reminded everyone of his unquestionable talent.
Thierry Henry: “Today was vintage Juve Pogba. When he plays at that level, he’s almost unplayable. He changed the second half, that’s what you do as a captain. When he plays like that on the left coming in, being free, he’s very difficult to stop. He acted like a captain.” #mufc pic.twitter.com/KrNXKkw0vy
— United Xtra (@utdxtra) January 1, 2018
When Pogba is allowed to breathe, the team breathes too. The contrast with the isolated, frustrated figure he cut against Southampton couldn’t have been more pronounced.
He was everywhere, nicking the ball off blue shirts and driving forward at will, his raw class on the ball becoming clearer and clearer as the game went on.
The midfielder’s presence on the ball – controlled, bursting with creativity and confidence, ready to leave an Everton player on the floor at any moment – dwarfed any other player on the pitch. Jamie Carragher summed it up succinctly: it was men against boys.
That he hasn’t been given an opportunity by Mourinho to express himself on the pitch and unpick opponents in his own mesmerising way this season is startling, and supporters can only hope that his wholesale domination of the encounter on Monday serves as a blueprint for United going forward.