France manager Didier Deschamps has called Paul Pogba ‘indispensable’ but at the same time called on him to ‘raise his level of play’ following criticism of his performance against Italy on Friday night.
Pogba was replaced by Steven N’Zonzi in the second half of the 3-1 friendly win after he was whistled at by the home fans following yet another below-par display.
It has not been the best of seasons for Pogba. He was dropped by Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho and found himself benched for the national team in March and it does not seem that it is getting any better for the 25-year-old.
Speaking about the midfielder’s performance Deschamps said:
‘Not everything was successful, but he helped the team be well organised.’
‘I don’t question Paul’s potential. If I called him up, it’s because he’s indispensable for me.
‘I know what he is capable of. He has to raise his level of play. I have confidence in him, as I do in my other players.’
It was not only Deschamps who defended Pogba. His teammate Antoine Griezzman also stood up for his compatriot:
‘The whistles are part of football, you have to stay tough mentally. We’re all playing for the same shirt. He plays his game, you’re used to him scoring. We don’t expect that from him, only that he rotates the ball and plays for the team,’ Griezmann said.
‘He has had a difficult season at Manchester United but he has a lot of confidence in himself.’
On his day Pogba is one of the best players in world football but the problem is that he simply does not have enough good days. He is inconsistent and is no longer as reliable as he once was.
If France is to have a successful run in the World Cup, they will have to either hope that Pogba steps up to the plate or drop him.