Paul Pogba is at the centre of attention again as Manchester United’s patchy season continues.
United manager Jose Mourinho said Pogba was “rested” for Tuesday’s cup match against Derby, with his loss of the vice-captaincy confirmed later. He was then substituted midway through United’s loss at West Ham.
France star Pogba was signed by United from Juventus for a then-world record £89million in August 2016, shortly after Mourinho joined the club, and the relationship between player and manager has been heavily scrutinised recently.
Here is a look at how Pogba’s second spell at United has reached this moment.
August 2016 – Pogba’s world record transfer from Juventus is confirmed and the France midfielder says: “I am really looking forward to working with Jose Mourinho.” Mourinho describes the midfielder as “one of the best players in the world” and says he “will be a key part of the United team I want to build here for the future”.
September 2016 – The first signs of Pogba struggling to adapt to Mourinho’s system emerges in United’s 2-1 Premier League home defeat to rivals Manchester City. TV pundit Jamie Carragher calls Pogba’s performance “ill-disciplined”, saying he was “like a kid in the schoolyard, running where he wants and doing what he wants.”
March 2017 – Following an FA Cup defeat at Chelsea where Pogba struggles again, Mourinho accuses the player’s critics of being jealous at how much he earns.
June 2017 – After United end the season having won the League Cup and Europa League, Pogba says Mourinho “trusted and defended me” and that the Portuguese deserves his ‘Special One’ moniker.
September 2017 – Reports emerge that Mourinho is unhappy that Pogba flew to Miami to recover from a hamstring injury rather than stay in Manchester.
January 2018 – Pogba is hauled off just over an hour into United’s timid 2-0 defeat to Tottenham and has a heated debate with Mourinho on the Wembley touchline.
February 2018 – Mourinho drops Pogba for the next game against Huddersfield, hauls him off again in the 1-0 defeat at Newcastle and benches him for the first leg of the Champions League clash with Sevilla.
March 2018 – More unwelcome headlines follow for United as Pogba and Mourinho are said to be “barely on speaking terms” amid reports the midfielder could be sold in the summer.
July 2018 – Pogba helps France to World Cup glory in Russia and is hailed for becoming one of the team’s leaders under Didier Deschamps.
August 2018 – Mourinho suggests Pogba was unable to be distracted by external matters during the World Cup due to the short nature of the tournament. Despite returning late from the World Cup, Pogba starts and captains United in their opening match of the season – scoring in a 2-1 win against Leicester. But he says after the game that “there are things I cannot say, otherwise I will get fined”. Pogba is linked with a move to Barcelona before the end of the transfer window, but Mourinho says: “I have never been so happy with (Pogba) as I am now.”
September 2018 – Pogba is thought by some observers to be questioning Mourinho’s tactics after the 1-1 home draw against Wolves by saying United should “attack, attack, attack”. Reports emerge before the Carabao Cup tie against Derby that Mourinho told Pogba in front of the squad he will never captain United again as he does not embody what the club is about. Pogba is rested for the Derby game and Mourinho says afterwards he has taken the vice-captaincy away from the midfielder, but the manager denies the pair have fallen out.
– Mourinho and Pogba share a tense training ground exchange the day
after the captaincy news and, though Pogba started against West Ham, he is substituted 70 minutes in to a 3-1 defeat.
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