Arsenal legend Robert Pires has defended Paul Pogba amidst criticism that his countryman is failing to meet the expectations attached to his status as ‘world’s most expensive footballer’ and has urged critics to be patient with him.
Pogba re-joined the club where he played as a youngster on a world-record transfer from Juventus in the summer but has so far failed to make a big impact in Jose Mourinho’s side.
Pires believes it is normal for players who switch leagues to take a season or two to adapt to their new environment but also that the pressure coming from the £89 million United paid for him is affecting the 24-year-old. United are currently on the ascent having not lost in 18 Premier League matches with free-signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic drawing the plaudits.
“He had a lot of pressure because some people were talking about his price tag, but you must not forget Paul Pogba is a young player and in France we say he needs time to adapt.” Pires told Sky Sports.
“I think that is very important as the Premier League is very hard, difficult and tough, it is not only for the game, it is every morning in the training sessions.
“I know Paul, I am very confident for him, but I think Man Utd is a good choice for him and if you work with Jose Mourinho you can learn a lot.
“The first season is very difficult, it is like a transition for him as he used to play for Juventus in Italy and so everything is different. You cannot compare France, Italy, Spain, Germany, UK – they are not the same.
“And that is why the time for adaption is very important for Paul Pogba and the other players.”
Despite inconsistent displays, Pogba has still been an inseparable part of Mourinho’s plans as he has racked up 41 appearances so far. He missed the international break due to a hamstring injury but Mourinho hopes he could have him back in time for Saturday’s clash against West Brom.