BT Sport and ESPN commentator Ian Darke has backed Paul Pogba to claim the PFA Player of the Year award with Manchester United this season following Nemanja Mati’s arrival.
The Frenchman, despite widespread criticism, became a fundamental asset for Jose Mourinho last season, but failed to have the desired impact in front of goal.
But with the indomitable Matic lurking behind him this time around, however, Pogba has been a menacing threat going forward, claiming goals against West Ham United and Swansea City.
And Darke believes that the Serbian’s presence could set the stage for Pogba to dominate the Premier League stage this season.
“Matic I think has freed Pogba up but I think there are other factors as well,” he said. He’s been back there now for a year. I spoke to him last year and asked him about that fee.”
“He pretended not to know or remember what that fee was – he definitely did. I think it was a weight on his shoulders, Mourinho was settling in as well.
“I think this season you will see the real Paul Pogba, I think he’s a very fine player. Other players of course are great as well in the Premier League, but he can win it.”
Make no mistake, Pogba has what it takes to rise above the rest this season: strength, mesmerising skill, superb passing range, total awareness, confidence and, crucially, a renewed sense of where the goal is.
That goal against Swansea typified the kind of threat he can be going forward. He was vigilant to intercept Tommy Carroll’s ball, insightful to find Mkhitaryan and produce the perfect run in behind, before chipping the ball over Lucasz Fabianski in sublime fashion, leaving the Liberty Stadium stunned.
Supporters will just hope that such early brilliance is a sign of things to come from the Frenchman this season. Consistency is simply everything.