France manager Didier Deschamps has revealed how his advice helped Paul Pogba to improve his relationship with the media during the a World Cup.
Pogba was vital for Les Blues as they conquered the world in a Russia, beating Croatia emphatically in the final to become World Champions. The Manchester United midfielder emerged as one of the leaders of the group in the France dressing room.
Simultaneously, Pogba’s connection with domestic and foreign media outlets improved. Despite being a payer of enormous talent and reputation, Pogba gave his first press conference with France for four years when he spoke ahead of his side’s final group game in Russia, against Denmark.
Deschamps, who had not always been close with Pogba, explained what he had told the Man United man prior to the tournament.
“I told him to normalise his relationship with the press,” Deschamps told Le Figaro. “I had discussions with him on the subject!”
“I put forward arguments because I knew this situation well.
“I do not pretend to say: I changed Paul but he has been much better. Has it allowed him to be free and perform better on the pitch? I hope so.”
Pogba had previously had a rocky relationship with the press. The same is true in England, where he is criticised frequently for being arrogant, obsessed with his off-the-pitch status and not focussed enough on his on-the-pitch endeavours.
One area in which Pogba has been vilified is his hairstyle, which he changes fairly regularly, often to one which makes him stand out from the rest of the Premier League and the world.
It’s an old-fashioned criticism, many would argue. But at the same time, it’s not one that is cited during a spell of good form and so it stems from Pogba not playing well enough for United.
On the matter of hair, Deschamps was indifferent.
“Paul is like he is…” the France boss said, before continuing to add, “He wanted to have a more restrained haircut, so much the better, or so much the worse, they are the ones who decide, even if I do not hesitate to tease them.”