Paul Pogba ‘plays with freedom in this France team… in a Manchester United shirt he looks as if he is scared’, says Alan Shearer as midfielder shines in World Cup semi-final win over Belgium
Alan Shearer believes Paul Pogba is much more comfortable playing for France than he is with Manchester United.
The midfielder shined as France beat Belgium 1-0 to reach the World Cup final on Tuesday night.
The 25-year-old has received plenty of criticism since moving to Old Trafford from Juventus for a then world record £89m fee in 2016 and Shearer believes that is largely because he lacks the freedom to express himself on the pitch at Old Trafford.
Paul Pogba celebrates following France’s victory over Belgium in the World Cup on Tuesday
Alan Shearer believes France give Pogba the freedom he needs to play his best football
‘I think he plays with a freedom in this France team where if he makes a mistake it’s accepted but if he does that in a Man United shirt he looks as if he is scared,’ the former England international said during ITV’s post-match coverage.
Fellow pundit Rio Ferdinand was in agreement, saying Les Blues are far better set up to get the best out of him.
‘I don’t think the team (at United) is set up to benefit him sometimes,’ the former United defender explained. ‘We are all trying to work that out.
‘At United sometimes he’s not had the consistency and has been moved around. Maybe he isn’t comfortable in that environment.
Pogba put in a mature display in midfield as his team reached the final of the World Cup
Rio Ferdinand (left) heaped praise on Pogba following the midfielder’s impressive display
And Ferdinand believes Pogba was crucial to his side’s huge victory at the Saint Petersburg Stadium.
‘We all know how good he is on the ball but today his work-rate, his defensive discipline, I just love his intensity,’ the former United defender said during ITV’s post-match coverage.
‘He plays balls other people cannot see. He knew what he had to do on the pitch, he knew his job and his intensity, sometimes called into question when he hasn’t got the ball, was superb tonight.
‘When I saw him as a 16-year-old you couldn’t fail to see he was going to be world class. I think he’s grown and grown and grown in this tournament.
Ferdinand praised the 25-year-old (left) for his work-rate and defensive discipline