16 Aug, 17:00
When Paul Pogba joined Manchester United last summer, many expected him to produce his best performance but things did not go as expected.
The French international is expected to enjoy a huge season at Manchester United as the arrival of Nemanja Matic could free up Pogba. The 24 year old returns to the Liberty Stadium on Saturday, the scene of the best Manchester United goal of his career so far. That arrowed effort last November earned Pogba third spot in the club's end-of-season awards and was seen as a glimpse of what was to come. But his late strike in last weekend's 4-0 win over West Ham was potentially far more significant.
The former Juventus man, was judged too harshly last season, five league goals and four assists told only some of the tale. There were trophies too. There was the fact that Pogba topped the list for chances created and dribbles completed, hinting at a much greater influence. Putting the package together was the challenge that remained.
- He reminded me at times of when United signed Juan Sebastian Veron. He was a brilliant midfield player, one of the best in the world, but he kept chasing the ball and vacating areas. That is difficult to play with and Pogba was like that last year, said Phil Neville.
With Matic now a Red Devil, this should solve that particular problem experienced last season. Forty-two per cent of Pogba's touches came in his own half last season, but with Matic and Ander Herrera in support, this year offers an opportunity to get the France international into better areas. Instead, Jose Mourinho, perhaps surprisingly, kept Pogba in his midfield two against West Ham, changing the personnel rather than the tactics. And it worked.