Gary Neville says Paul Pogba must become Manchester United's regular matchwinner
Gary Neville says it is time for Paul Pogba to start consistently winning matches for Manchester United after he inspired Saturday’s sensational turnaround against Manchester City, Sky Sports reports.
City looked set to seal the Premier League title at the Etihad after first-half goals from Vincent Kompany and Ilkay Gundogan, but £89m signing Pogba proved the catalyst for a second-half comeback as he scored twice in two minutes before Chris Smalling snatched a winner in a stunning 3-2 win.
Sky Sports expert Neville believes the France international has the personality to become a big player for the club, but says it’s time for his displays on the pitch to start matching up to his personality off it.
He told the Gary Neville Podcast: “I’ve said all year, Manchester United are a far better team with Paul Pogba in it. He brings arrogance, confidence and belief.
“But when you’re a player who is signed for that money, when you dance like he does and when you’ve got hair like he has you have to play well and you have to match it.
“He is a fantastic footballer and he makes Manchester United a better team. He shows great belief and confidence and shows total confidence in himself – but you have to deliver consistently.
“Manchester United have shown great faith in him to deliver, they paid a lot of money for him, and there’s a large expectation.
“The Manchester United badge carries a large responsibility. Manchester United fans don’t want robots, they want characters, but it’s then demonstrating it on the pitch and doing it consistently.
“He hasn’t done that in the last couple of months, but he is a good lad and a good player and I hope for him and for United that he can start now to affect the biggest matches and win the biggest games.
“That’s what he was brought in to do and today was a big, big turnaround for him. He needed that second half like you wouldn’t believe.”
Pogba hit the headlines on Friday night after Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola revealed his agent Mino Raiola had offered him the chance to sign the midfielder in January.
Neville felt it would have been “messy” for him if United had been comfortably beaten on Saturday.
He added: “At half-time I could see this getting quite messy for Pogba and the questions Jose would have to be asked about his midfield player.
“For Pogba to come out in the second half and score those two goals… he needed that, he absolutely needed that more than ever because there were big questions being asked before this game, during this game and at half-time.
“People now will say. Let’s see what you can deliver moving forward.”
Neville was, however, less complimentary about Pogba’s agent, describing Raiola as “a joke”.
“Pep has probably been a bit mischievous, there’s no doubt about that,” he said. “(Raiola’s) a bit of a joke really. He’s a really poor reflection on Paul Pogba.”