Thursday 14 January 2021 00:51, UK
Paul Pogba's attitude does not help Manchester United, says football writer Andy Mitten.
Question marks surround Pogba's future at United with his agent Mino Raiola declaring on Friday they were "in the process" of facilitating a move away from Old Trafford.
However, the 26-year-old has reported back for pre-season training and is part of United's squad for their 18-day pre-season trip, starting in Australia.
Raiola later said Pogba has done "nothing wrong" but Mitten, the editor of fanzine United We Stand, believes the France international hasn't helped himself or the club.
"It's an unedifying mess," Mitten told Sky Sports News' Transfer Talk Podcast.
"Pogba joined Manchester United in 2016 to make Manchester United great again. United worked really hard to get him, he was going to be the central focus of the team and it was on that promise that they got him.
"He was going to Real Madrid and Manchester United said to him 'if you go to Madrid you're going to be one of four or five stars, if you come to Manchester United you will be the main man' and in terms of shirt sales, social media interactions - which do mean a lot to the club - he did that and he's had some great games but he's not been anywhere near as consistent enough, not for a player of his immense talents.
"When he's playing well like he did when Ole Gunnar [Solskjaer] came in, he's the best player. He was the top goalscorer last season but it's just his inconsistency. His attitude doesn't help Manchester United.
"United don't want to be bullied by players. Players sign contracts for a reason and I respect United's decision to hold their ground and not be bullied by agents, but it's very, very difficult to keep hold of a player when publicly he's said that he wants to leave and he wants a new challenge.
"He was complicit in United's failings last season. If he had any pride, then he'd help get them back to the great team that they once were."
Pogba has been criticised a number of times during his time at Old Trafford, but Mitten believes he is still admired by his team-mates.
"Paul Pogba is a very influential figure in United's dressing room. A lot of the younger players look up to him," he added.
"He became the main man in the dressing room when Wayne Rooney left, when Zlatan Ibrahimovic left. Players look up to Paul Pogba and often with good reason. He's professional, he's polite, he's intelligent, he's multilingual, his life has been a success.
"This isn't an issue where you can say 'Pogba is right or Pogba is wrong', there's so many shades of grey here and he could turn round and say 'I should've been made Manchester United captain - I would've done a good job', but of course when his relationship with Jose Mourinho deteriorated that was always going to be unlikely and those two not getting on didn't help anybody.
"I still think even now United would happily keep him, hope that he is effective and as good as his talent and becomes a star for Manchester United but we know Pogba, we know Raiola, we know the history of moving players on when they want to leave including from Manchester United.
"When Pogba left United in 2012, [Sir Alex] Ferguson told him to stay, players went round to his house and told him to stay but he listened to his agent more than anybody, and he went to Juventus."
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