Rio Ferdinand has backed Paul Pogba following the midfielder’s war of words with Graeme Souness, but revealed his one ‘problem’ with the Manchester United star.
The France international has been continually criticised for his performances by Souness in recent seasons, though claimed he did not know who the former Liverpool midfielder was when asked to respond to the pundit’s comments.
Souness hit back by calling for the 27-year-old to ‘put his medals on the table’, though Ferdinand has defended Pogba’s comments and believes he did not mean to disrespect the three-time European Cup winner.
Ferdinand has, however, questioned Souness’ consistent criticism of the player who has missed much of the season through injury, whilst also offering advice to Pogba over the behaviour and influence of his controversial agent.
“He hasn’t even played football this year. I don’t understand it. Why are you chatting about Paul Pogba? He didn’t play this season, really. So he shouldn’t be in the conversation, I don’t understand,” Ferdinand told The Beautiful Game.
“For Paul Pogba to say he doesn’t know who [Souness] is or wouldn’t know him as a footballer, I believe that. It’s not disrespectful, he doesn’t know him.
“As great a player as Souness was – he was a top player, one of the best. If you were talking about the best British midfielders we’ve produced, he’s in the conversation, 100 per cent, Graeme Souness was a good player.
“But Paul Pogba doesn’t know him. Simple as that, and that’s the difference of generations. I don’t think it’s disrespectful.
“If I was Paul Pogba, I’d say the same thing, but I would have said it from a disrespectful standpoint. Because I’d be saying, ‘you’ve been dissing me all this time and I’ve not kicked a ball, why are you talking about me?’
“And I’m honest about Paul and I love Paul, because he’s a great kid. I’ve known him since he was a young boy and I still chat to him now. But the only problem I have with Paul is he should chat instead of his agent chatting. If he did that there would be more clarity on the whole situation.
“I spoke to him about all that type of stuff but Paul’s his own man and he’s going to deal with it his own way, I respect that, that’s fine. So that’s the only thing I’d say.”