Tony Cascarino: Paul Pogba is not a world class player

by Leo Nieboer

Former Republic of Ireland striker Tony Cascarino has insisted that Paul Pogba is not a world class player, noting that only Antonio Valencia and David de Gea deserve to enter the top bracket.

The Frenchman has been a central force for Jose Mourinho this season, producing a series of dominating, incisive displays in the middle – most recently during the 3-1 win over Arsenal.

But he has struggled to find top form ever since returning from suspension, disappointing with mediocre performances against Bristol City, Leicester and Burnley.

And Cascarino, speaking after the game, made it clear that Pogba wasn’t consistent enough to be labelled as world class.

“I’m not surprised José Mourinho says he needs to spend more money — Manchester United don’t have many world-class players,” he said.

David De Gea is probably the best goalkeeper in the world and I rate Antonio Valencia as one the best right backs in Europe.

Paul Pogba has potential to be world class and Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford are still inconsistent. After that United are short.

“They have lots of what I would call very good players, in the seven or eight out of ten category.

“I include in that one man who struggled yesterday — Romelu Lukaku — and another who shone — Jesse Lingard.

“I have said before that I rate Lukaku as a goalscorer and he’ll get 20 goals this season. It’s more that he isn’t that strong technically and can sometimes go missing in games.”

This is a difficult notion to accept as a Man United fan because there are moments during games – accentuated when you’re seeing it live – when Pogba will do something on the ball and you go: wow, yeah, okay, wow, that is world class right there.

That instinctive, natural, breathtaking presence on the field is only a necessary constituent part of any world class player – not sufficient.

There are, at the age of 24, still aspects of Pogba’s game – decision making, consistency, presence in front of goal – that cannot be considered world class, but make no mistake: he has the tools to become one of the very best.

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