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Former France international Christophe Dugarry has criticised Manchester United star Paul Pogba for becoming a “marketing player” rather than showing his “alien” and “genius” capabilities on the pitch.
Dugarry, who made 55 appearances for France and won the 1998 World Cup and 2000 UEFA European Championship, was speaking on RMC (h/t MailOnline’s Alex Martin) and wants his compatriot to focus less on self-promotion in order to reach his true potential.
“He’s an alien, a player out of the ordinary, but he annoys me, because I know he’s capable of doing a hundred times more,” Dugarry said. “He’s a genius, but when is he going to realise it? When he started becoming a marketing player, he lost that rage he had at Juventus.”
Pogba has previously attracted Dugarry’s ire for agreeing to take part in a documentary following him ahead of the World Cup, a teaser for which he posted on social media:
Paul Pogba @paulpogba
Check out the first episode of the #PogSerie on @CanalFootClub 👊🏾 #PogbaMondial @canalplus #onestfou #fiersdetrebleus @equipedefrance https://t.co/GqQQxYeIDs
The first episode of the “Pogserie” aired on French TV station Canal+ just hours after Pogba had been involved in Les Bleus’ 3-2 defeat to Colombia, and Dugarry was unhappy:
“You are not starting for Manchester United, you just lost a game with the France national team. You send out this program that doesn’t make sense. You have just lost. That tells us that you’re not concentrating.
“Things aren’t going well for you and you make us your Pogseries. What kind of madness is that?
“You just lost 2-3 against the Colombians and you were missing for an hour. You have a whole country behind you, a country that wants to do well at the World Cup, and you make these stupid things for us.”
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While the midfielder likely had little to do with the timing of the release of the episode and being part of such a series is part and parcel of being a top-level player, many would agree with Dugarry’s acknowledgement that Pogba is capable of much more than he has shown this season.
The 25-year-old has produced five goals and 10 assists in all competitions, but his form for much of the campaign has been disappointing.
Though there are some mitigating factors at play—such as manager Jose Mourinho’s seeming reluctance to utilise a system that better suits him—he must also take some responsibility.
Football writer Tom McDermott was critical of him after he put in an uninspired display in the first half against Manchester City as United were lucky to go in at the break only 2-0 down:
Tom McDermott @MrTomMcDermott
Re Pogba. I said months ago that I can’t remember more than 10 decent games he’s had for #MUFC. Moments in matches (second half #EFC away this season for example) but I expect a #MUFC midfielder to have more control in matches never mind big ones.
Two goals from Pogba in 97 seconds spearheaded United’s comeback to win 3-2, though, prompting ESPN’s Alex Shaw and football writer Liam Canning to note his importance to the team:
Alex Shaw @AlexShawESPN
And yet again, plain for all to see: When Pogba is bad, United stink the place out. When he’s on it, they’re a side transformed. His importance is so ridiculous it’s insane some people can’t see it. He’s obviously capable of more, but his quality is clear.
Liam Canning @LiamPaulCanning
Leaders stand up when their team is in trouble. Paul Pogba’s just done that. Lots of criticism around him, but when he makes runs forward, he really is class. Let him excel.
If Pogba is to fulfil his vast potential, he not only needs to produce such quality moments on a more consistent basis but also exert his influence throughout matches week-in, week-out.
Achieving that will also be invaluable to both United and the French national team, who both possess an abundance of talent but are perhaps less than the sum of their parts.