Like most of the rest of the world, Didier Deschamps has taken the side of Paul Pogba with regard to the French superstar’s ongoing feud with Jose Mourinho.
While Mourinho, Pogba’s manager at Manchester United, has taken the extraordinary steps of telling the 25-year-old he’ll never captain the club again and attempting to expel him from a recent training session, Deschamps remains steadfast in his belief that Pogba is a highly influential, respected leader. He would know, of course, because he spent the summer winning the World Cup with Pogba and his French national team teammates — quotes from the Guardian:
“He has taken many things upon himself. He has been a leader. Each time he had to talk and express himself it was always very positive. It’s the words he uses and the atmosphere and feeling that comes across. He is not the only one but he is one of the leaders who took it upon himself because the group needed it. On the pitch he did what needed to be done as well.”
“There are a few things people ought to know. First of all, there is an image of Paul that doesn’t correspond to who he is. Maybe it is because he is a bit eccentric, a bit demonstrative. He has been with me since 2013 – that is five years now – and the way he functions is not about him for himself, it is him as part of the group. That is really important.
“His image in the media makes everything quite complicated. The amount of the transfer to Manchester United is ridiculous … it wasn’t easy to manage. During this World Cup, he managed to get a normal image back. The fact he talks, it liberates him a bit, but the most important thing is that Paul came to this World Cup with a very precise idea: he wanted to prepare himself to be world champion. That is what he had in his mind.”
Given the way Mourinho appears to be unraveling under the pressure, and the direction in which results have headed in recent weeks, the most likely outcome here is that Pogba outlasts Mourinho — who doesn’t survive the season — and is picked as the club’s permanent captain going forward by the next manager, in part to establish goodwill between himself and Pogba, but also because it’s the sensible move that anyone not named Mourinho would have already made.