Jamie Carragher has backed Jose Mourinho in the Manchester United manager’s decision to strip midfielder Paul Pogba of the vice-captaincy recently.
The decision has caused great controversy and been used as an example of the pair’s frosty relationship which has led to Pogba flirting with a move away from Old Trafford.
That could either be in January or next summer with a trio of major European clubs, all champions of their respective leagues, interested in the Frenchman. A return to Juventus is possible while Pogba has been heavily linked and scouted by La Liga winners FC Barcelona, whose players have spoken of Pogba on a number of occasions. Paris Saint-Germain, in Pogba’s home country, have also been mooted as an option.
The 25-year-old re-joined Man United in the summer of 2016 and had started the season well despite rumours of a possible exit. Yet after four goals and two assists in seven games, Pogba’s comments in the media that United should be more attacking at home and change their style of play at Old Trafford led to him being removed as vice-captain.
“People say that Mourinho poses problems by taking him [Pogba] off the captaincy, but he is not really a captain,” Carragher said on Sky Sports.
“He lets his agent talk negatively about the club. How can this happen if he is the man who fights for his club, for his manager?”
While Mourinho could have handled the situation in a better fashion, Carragher is right to point out Pogba’s weakness as a captain. Although he showed his leadership qualities during last summer’s World Cup as France finished winners, Pogba has never looked like a leader in a United shirt.
Apart from his outstanding quality, there’s no reason for him to be captain. There are other players who have been at United for longer, since a younger age, perform more consistently and understand the club better. Pogba’s comments may have been correct, and he has every right to be frustrated just like United’s support, but he isn’t a fan and he isn’t writing a blog or recording a podcast.
United’s players should not publicly comment on their own manager’s style of play. Those issues should be kept in-house, and so Mourinho was right to remove Pogba as vice-captain. Yet the way he went about it has led to a massive media storm, and Mourinho must be criticised for that.