So many smart people in soccer have been unsuccessful at determining what it is exactly that Paul Pogba does best.
Some say he should be pushed further up the pitch in a more creative role. Others believe he should be shackled and kept back as a holding midfielder. Still others believe his best abilities are out wide.
So, with the 2018 World Cup approaching, it is now Didier Deschamps job to get an out-of-form Pogba playing back to his best. Deschamps has been asked a lot about Pogba recently, mostly due to the midfielder’s current form at Manchester United and how it might affect his status as a starter in the France squad or his role in the tactical approach in Russia.
A few days ago, after a 3-1 win over Italy that saw Pogba put in an 87-minute shift, Deschamps said Pogba has to “raise his level of play,” but also maintained his confidence in the 25-year-old.
Now, Deschamps has offered continued thoughts on the usefulness and versatility of his mercurial midfielder. “People talk a lot about Paul,” Deschamps told French media ahead of their match on Saturday against the United States. “He’s a midfielder, he’s not a number 10, nor a forward. He has the ability to score goals and create them, which he does often.
That’s where things got weird. “He’s a complete midfielder: he can do everything but he can’t do everything. There’s a nuance there. Paul has huge potential.” Deschamps then maintained that his performance against Italy “wasn’t his best match.”
It’s odd that Deschamps is essentially admitting that he still has no idea how to utilize Pogba in his squad, but it’s also an honest assessment of the player. It’s never good for a 25-year-old to still hear managers talk about their “potential.” Pogba will need a good performance against the United States to ensure his place in the squad come time for the World Cup in a very short time.