Tuesday 20 February 2018 / 04:25 AM


I saw a stat the other day: Paul Pogba has played the most outfield minutes in the Premier League this season, with 4,006 minutes under this belt.

The article I read this stat in was using the fact that the Frenchman had played so many games to mitigate his, shall we say, ‘under par’ performances; the excuse being that because Pogba is tired, he is unable to have the influence he might have otherwise.

I think that’s codswallop.

I also think that it’s the exact opposite.

Surely the fact that Pogba has played so many minutes means that he has had more opportunities than most to impress.

More time to create chances.

More time to score goals.

Both of which have been notable by their absence this season.

Now just to be clear, I’m not writing Paul Pogba off here.

I think he has the ability to become a good, or even great player for Manchester United.

But I will stick my neck out here, and say that I don’t think he’ll ever be a world-class player.

Pogba is 24 years old – the same age that Cristiano Ronaldo was when he moved to Real Madrid after scoring a ludicrous amount of goals for Manchester United.

A year older than Gareth Bale was when he joined Real Madrid.

I could list more players, but you get the point. Pogba isn’t even close to being mentioned in the same breath as these players; they are so drastically superior to him that there is simply no possible comparison.

And yet more money was spent on Pogba.

Not a lot more, but more nevertheless.

As I said, I think the midfielder has got potential, but would I rather play him in the number 10 role or Dele Alli or Ross Barkley?

It’d be the English boys every time. Faster, stronger, more skilful, and a heck of a lot cheaper.

Pogba came with a hefty price tag for a number of reasons, but he is yet to justify his salary in any way, shape or form.

Bale and Ronaldo might have been two of the most expensive players in the world, but what they have given Madrid is utterly unique.

When they arrived, they had an immediate impact, and it’s impossible to argue that Pogba is having a similar impact at United.

He looks good, but not that good.

And when you’ve shelled out nearly £100 million a player, ‘not that good’ isn’t good enough.

Will the Frenchman become ‘good enough’? The jury’s out, but one thing’s for sure, using his ‘minutes played’ stats as an excuse doesn’t achieve anything.

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Seb Greenwood

CBS’s longest-serving contributor, Englishman Seb is our leading football correspondent, pulling no punches with his opinions on the Premier League and the international scene.

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