My message to Paul Pogba is simple: stop showboating, start performing.
The haircuts and off-pitch distractions need to end, but no one at Manchester United has got hold of him and said 'no, you’re not going to do this'. It would have trodden on the issue early, putting the onus on the Frenchman to make a change. It would make him realise that if he’s not doing it on the pitch, then he can’t be doing it off it either.
But nothing’s been said. Despite being dropped more than once, Pogba still turns up for big games sporting haircuts that would have never been allowed in my time. Turn up with a blue streak in your hair for the Manchester derby under Sir Alex Ferguson? Sent home. It would have taken the focus away from the game and players in my dressing room wouldn't have wanted that.
Premier League
Origi signs new Liverpool deal
10/07/2019 AT 17:08
A team is a team for a reason. You don’t need an individual chucking themselves into the limelight, picking and choosing what they do, and taking the emphasis away from what matters most: the actual game.

Paul Pogba’s tweet certainly raised an eyebrow ahead of the Manchester derby (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Image credit: PA Sport

Having said that, there’s no way he should be sold. He hasn’t shown anything to suggest he can consistently be a top player, but there’s talent there. Everyone can see that, but we can’t keep making excuses for his poor performances.
If he’s really that good, he should be able to play in any position and still make it obvious how good he is. I’ve seen Ryan Giggs at left-back and he would have been one of the finest left-backs in the Premier League if he had played there more often. Just because he’s not playing in his best position – or, perhaps more appropriately, what he thinks is his best position – doesn’t mean that he can’t give everything to deliver a good performance.
When Pogba returned to United, he spoke about wanting to prove a point. Well go on then. Prove how much you want it and show some character – the same he showed at Juventus when he commanded an £89 million fee. Only when he has consistently performed can Jose Mourinho decide what his best position is. Saying you’re in the wrong position is a cop out.
Look at Anthony Martial next time he’s substituted. Do his facial expressions and body language suggest he’s got the drive to prove people wrong? He shrugs his shoulders and although I’m sure he’s unhappy, he doesn’t show enough emotion to suggest he wants to be in the team.
Martial needs to believe in himself. When things are going right, he’s one of the most exciting talents in the Premier League. But all too often he makes a mistake and loses belief instantly. That’s not how it should be. So what if you make an error? The world isn’t going to crumble around you.
When managers make mistakes – tactical errors, wrong substitutions – you don’t see a curly finger from the owner pulling them into the stands and putting someone else on the bench. Martial has to think ‘OK, that didn’t go right, but I’m still going to try that again’ rather than going into his shell and playing with fear.
The last thing United need is for Martial to go to another big club, rebuild his confidence and end up playing well with a bit more freedom. That would be an embarrassment. It’s a completely different situation to losing Angel Di Maria, who wasn’t a player who was going to improve and improve and improve. The likes of Pogba and Martial can do that.
Anyway, when you look at the fees they cost – particularly with add-ons, in the case of Martial – can you just keep buying and selling? Teams know that when you’re selling your big-money signings that you’re letting them go because you don’t fancy them and that means they go cheap. It’s a helluva lot of money to let go so quickly and there’s no need at this stage. You’ve got to keep your young and talented players. Both players would be a major loss to United.
- - -
Paul Parker - @realpaulparker2
Premier League
Mourinho opposed to Newcastle role – ‘I have to play to win’
26/06/2019 AT 08:29
Premier League
Herrera, Sturridge, Llorente head Premier League players released
09/06/2019 AT 10:01