Antoine Griezmann has backed Paul Pogba to recover his best form amid a difficult patch at Manchester United.
The Frenchman has been limited to just four starts in 11 games due to injury, illness and a lapse in form under Jose Mourinho, who many believe is stifling his best qualities through the way he sets up his teams.
He has joined up with his France teammates for friendlies with Colombia and Russia this month, and Griezmann, when asked about his friend, was confident he would recover from his recent lapse in form.
“He came back [to the squad] with a huge smile on his face,” he said.
“He was happy. It’s not easy when you don’t play at your club or you don’t feel at your best. It happened to me and he knows that.
“He still enjoys having fun and working hard, which matters the most. It’s up to him to prove and show that he’s still the player that he can be.
“The coach trusts him, like the entire squad. We need a smiling Paul and an efficient one on the pitch.”
We should always stress that what Pogba is experiencing now is neither unique nor terminal for his Man United career. Even the very best go through difficult periods in their career.
But the alarm from supporters lies more with the potentially insurmountable disjunct between how Mourinho uses him compared to how pretty much everyone else wants him to be used. The 55-year-old has failed to give the 25-year-old an obvious and consistent role since his arrival in August 2016 and United’s attacking rhythm, especially over the last couple of months, is suffering as a result.
Supporters will never forgive the 55-year-old if he continues to waste Pogba’s unquestionable talent and ultimately force him towards the exit door.