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Paul Pogba vs Portugal: Exceptional performance highlights inconsistency for Manchester United

by Shane Healy

As a Manchester United fan, Paul Pogba is an incredibly frustrating player. On his good days, he looks like one of the best in the world, while on his often seen bad days, receiving a fee of around £50 million for him looks good transfer business for the selling club.

More often than not, for France, Pogba has good days; and last night, versus the reigning European Champions, Portugal, he, again, had a good day.

He was arguably man of the match in the 2-2 draw.

His stats were impressive. 97% pass completion and an assist among others.

Early on in the game, he pinged a 50 yard cross-field ball over Portugal’s defence (you can see it amongst his passes above), making it look easy, and putting Kylian Mbappé in a 1v1 against the right-back, Nelson Semedo.

After that, he split the Portuguese centre-backs with a pin-point throughball from the halfway line, unleashing Mbappé again from the left, this time through on goal.

As well as several other moments of skill throughout, including a powerful shot saved well onto the post in the second half, he worked hard off the ball and put his foot in for tackles.

Why then is it that he is regularly poor for United, where he came through the Academy from the age of 16?

Is it because he is partnered by the ever-solid and exceptional ball-winner, Ngolo Kanté in France’s midfield? Or is it that, for his country, his focus is solely on the team rather than where his next move might lie? Is it that the intensity of the Premier League highlights players’ off-days? Or maybe, it is the overall fluidity, tactics and quality around him for France?

Whatever the exact answer is, it is safe to say that Pogba has been consistently inconsistent for United, while his, and his agent’s comments, only contribute to team disharmony.

It is believed that United are working on a new contract offer for the 28 year-old, but wage-dependent, many will argue whether he deserves it and whether, going forward, keeping him at Old Trafford, is the best outcome for the Red Devils if they are to genuinely push for the Premier League title.

Perhaps, like with Harry Maguire at centre-back, signing a consistent, defensively strong partner for Pogba in midfield might be the answer to regularly unlocking his France form for United.

United have been linked with Declan Rice among others in recent months.

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