Paul Pogba was arguably France’s man of the match in Euro 2020 last night even though Les Bleus crashed out of the tournament after losing a penalty shoot-out to Switzerland.
As reported here this morning, the Manchester United player’s stats for the game and for the finals as a whole clearly place him as France’s best performer in the competition, and arguably, one of the stars of the entire tournament.
Yet none of this was enough for United legends Roy Keane and Gary Neville in the ITV studio after the game last night.
‘We saw the best and the worst of him in the second half,’ Neville said.
‘This is the best of him [the goal], absolutely world class strike. Brilliant.
‘He takes risks on the ball, but you want those risks to be in the final third, not in the defensive third, and they get counter-attacked on.’
Keane was also critical:
‘He can be frustrating. This is all a part of Paul’s character, which people love to see, but then I’d be looking at the goal they conceded in injury time, where he was sloppy in midfield.
‘That’s the bit I’d be really critical about.
‘It seems harsh because he’s done some brilliant stuff going forward tonight. There’s no doubting Paul’s quality, just the other side, maybe his maturity.
‘We’ve mentioned all night, and United have had the same problem, can he play in a two in midfield? He probably can’t, doesn’t have the discipline.
‘He still leaves you frustrated. For all his brilliant quality coming forward, I still think he lacks that discipline defensively.
‘That’s the key, the top players manage to do it week in week out and Paul, to me, still doesn’t quite do it.’
United Peoples TV’s Sam Peoples was one of many to be angered by the duo’s negativity.
‘Why on earth are Neville, Keane and [former Arsenal star Patrick] Vieira stuck in a 5 minute conversation about Pogba after that game? He was sensational.
‘To try and focus on anything he did wrong there screams of an agenda. There are so many other more prevalent and important talking points from that game.’
Why on earth are Neville, Keane and Vieira stuck in a 5 minute conversation about Pogba after that game? He was sensational. To try and focus on anything he did wrong there screams of an agenda. There are so many other more prevalent and important talking points from that game.
— United Peoples TV (@UnitedPeoplesTV) June 28, 2021
The #NotAPennyMore Boycott Movement admin agreed with Peoples:
‘It pains me when pundits can never be happy with Pogba. He scored a worldie, has been one of the players of the tournament, but it’s all about how come he can’t tackle/defend like Casemiro, box to box like Kante, or dribble like Messi.
‘There’s always something wrong with Pogba. His goal analysis was about how sh-t he is defending. The expectancies placed on him to be an all-round perfect midfielder are too great.
‘It’s like pundits complaining that Keane didn’t create enough, or Veira didn’t score enough goals.’
There's always something wrong with Pogba. His goal analysis was about how sh*t he is defending.
The expectancies placed on him to be an all round perfect midfielder are too great.
It's like pundits complaining that Keane didn't create enough, or Veira score enough goals.
— #NotAPennyMore Boycott Movement (@BoycottGlazers) June 28, 2021
It certainly is curious as to why Pogba is subject to so much criticism, even from United men like Keane and Neville, and even when he is at the top of his game.
‘La Pioche’ has surely been one of the brightest lights of Euro 2020 and the tournament will undoubtedly be the worse for his absence.