Paul Pogba is ready to play his best football for Manchester United and “shut down the critics”, says former Red Devils striker Louis Saha.
France World Cup winner Pogba has struggled to deliver on the expectations that surrounded him when he returned for a second spell at United almost four years ago.
The former United academy prospect, whose career first properly flourished after a move to Juventus in 2012, has often faced blame for United’s mediocre form since his return to the Premier League.
Fellow Frenchman Saha says Pogba, who has recovered from the injuries that have disrupted his season, is now determined to contribute to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team when English football resumes this month.
The United manager has been publicly supportive of Pogba, who could pair up with eye-catching January recruit Bruno Fernandes in midfield, and Saha says he remains a gem of a footballer.
Speaking to Stats Perform News, Saha said of Pogba: “He’s one of the best players in the world. He had a tough season plagued by injuries. He came back very motivated, that’s what some of the players told me.
“When I talk to him on the phone, he’s super motivated, so I really want to see not a new Pogba, but Pogba with support. I don’t think he was supported. Now he has Bruno Fernandes next to him, who’s another leader, another creator.”
Saha said that at times, with Pogba, shortcomings were made out to be “all his fault”.
“I’m really excited about that sharing of the responsibilities, I really want to watch that team,” said Saha, who won two Premier League titles at United.
Saha, a United player from 2004 to 2008, accepts Pogba will be linked with other clubs at the end of the season.
“The season is almost over and with the transfer market, his name will probably be in the box,” Saha said. “But he’s very motivated, he’s incredibly talented, he already proved himself, but now he has a better platform to improve and shut down the critics, sometimes justified.”
Another French player at United, Anthony Martial, has linked up well with Fernandes already, with their interplay earning plaudits this week from manager Solskjaer.
Saha praised Martial’s development this season, in which he has become a regular scorer for United.
“I’m a real fan of Anthony,” Saha said. “I was frustrated maybe a year ago because I knew his potential but, on the pitch, I saw him lost left or right. The guy, he can do anything, he’s got huge potential.”