Former top-flight midfielder and manager Graeme Souness has responded to questions over his criticism of Paul Pogba, saying the Manchester United man has almost every quality in the game except for one, which he feels is key.
Souness was renowned as an all-round winner during his playing days: a ferocious competitor who had the technique to go toe-to-toe with some of the finest in the game at the time.
He won trophies with Middlesbrough, Liverpool, Sampdoria and Rangers, before becoming a manager where in the modern day he has become almost equally known for his uncompromising approach, if somewhat less successful in the English top flight.
Now a media pundit and analyst, Souness’ driven approach to the game has often been at odds with those he feels are not determined or committed enough, which has at times included Pogba in the Scot’s opinion.
Asked in his Sunday Times column about an apparent “disdain” for United’s No. 6 and what he’d have made of him as a team-mate, Souness clarified that there was just one of the French midfielder’s characteristics that he didn’t appreciate – but it made them completely different players.
“Pogba has absolutely everything to be a top player – great athleticism, super technique,” Souness said.
“But his attitude to the game is the polar opposite of mine.
“He goes out with one thought in his mind: ‘I’m going to show everyone how clever I am today and be the star of the show.’
“My attitude, the way I was taught, was: ‘Go out and work harder than the guy you’re in against and see where that takes you.’
“He’d be an absolute doddle to play against.”
Pogba has been out injured for much of the current campaign, but was due to return to training recently and could still play a part in United’s push for a top-four finish once the Premier League resumes.