The Frenchman has only started four of Man United’s last 11 games and was left on the bench for France’s 3-2 defeat to Colombia last week.
Pundits and supporters alike have started to hit out at Pogba following a patch of poor form, but he was given a chance to produce a response in Moscow.
Placed on the left hand side of a midfield three, the 25-year-old was doing what he does best: going forward. His assist for Kylian Mbappe was perfectly weighted, and an example of what he can do when attackers run in behind.
Not the world’s greatest assist but it comes from Pogba roaming in the space he wants to.
At United, Mourinho fills Sánchez in that space by playing him on the left. https://t.co/jjIRmaxyHp
— Jordan (@FourFourJordan) March 27, 2018
And what followed on the other side of half time was spectacular. Having won the free-kick himself, Pogba stepped up and carefully guided a swerving shot into the bottom corner before paying tribute to his late father.
Here is an extended reel of Pogba’s highlights against this year’s World Cup hosts.
Paul Pogba vs. Russia
It wasn’t a perfect performance, but it’s clear that Pogba looks more like the Pogba we all know and love when he plays for France. Full of the confidence we rarely see in Manchester, Pogba had a lovely assist and scored a glorious free kick. pic.twitter.com/dm4XqnXbGo
— EiF (@EiF_Highlights) March 27, 2018
Forward impetus, strength, confidence, precise passing, cold execution, sheer presence on the pitch. This is the Pogba we all want to see; this is, more importantly, the performance you get from him when you have some faith and allow him the space to roam that left channel.
And while supporters have no control over how Mourinho uses him – if at all – they can get behind him fully. What happened to the days when United fans gave unyielding support to players who were struggling? Diego Forlan, for example, always received a great reception from supporters even when he wasn’t scoring.
Make no mistake: this is a man with world class talent. Supporters need to recognise and get behind him.