Didier Deschamps has defended Paul Pogba, saying that he is both a team player and a leader.
The French midfielder has been widely criticised by the media and fans alike after putting in a number of inconsistent displays for Manchester United since making his £89 million return to Old Trafford in 2016.
He was, however, an integral part of the France squad this summer, as Les Bleus claimed just the second World Cup trophy in their history, with Pogba taking on the mantle as a leader within the French camp.
With his relationship with Jose Mourinho thought to be strained, and numerous reports linking him with a move to Barcelona, France national team manager Didier Deschamps has defended his star player.
“I think the rest of the world, and certainly in France, has an image of Paul Pogba that doesn’t really reflect who he is,” Deschamps said at the FIFA Football Conference in London.
“He’s been in the national team since 2013 and he’s always thought about the collective. There’s this idea that he’s a bit individualistic and only thinks about himself but that’s not the case at all. I think that’s one thing that needs to be said.
“Another is that he arrived at the World Cup really prepared and he took on the mantle of leadership, on and off the pitch. He became a bit of a spokesman for the team and he can do that because he’s a good speaker.
“I’ve spoken to him about his relationship with the media and I think he’s been unfairly criticised in the past. That’s why there has been this aggressive vibe and he’s had this strained relationship.
“But criticism is part of the job and I think you learn to take that on board as you get more experienced. That’s what’s happened with him and I think he’s gained some respect. He joined us ready to become a world champion and he took the whole squad with him.”
Pogba has already scored four goals and laid on three assists in seven appearances this season.