Paul Pogba remains one of the Premier League’s best, says Andre Gray, with the Watford striker admitting that criticism of a Manchester United midfielder that “no-one can get near” annoys him.
Having returned to Old Trafford in 2016 as part of a record-breaking £89 million ($108m) transfer, big things were expected of a France international midfielder.
Pogba has enjoyed the odd high back in Manchester, while tasting World Cup glory with his country, but questions of his form and attitude have provided an unwelcome backdrop to efforts on the field.
Injury issues have also been a problem in 2019-20, with further transfer talk being generated as a result.
It remains to be seen whether there is a long-term role for Pogba in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side, with United having invested in the likes of Bruno Fernandes – with the promise of more spending to come.
Gray is among those who feel that the 27-year-old playmaker should remain integral to the Red Devils’ plans, with the Hornets frontman baffled by detractors of a global superstar.
For him, Pogba's qualities can often be overlooked, with the Frenchman about much more than driving runs and spectacular goals.
“People talk about Pogba and it annoys me,” Gray told Threesixtytv.
“Whenever I’ve played against Pogba, four or five times now, no-one can get near him.
“He might not set the world on fire and score top-corner goals. But you cannot get near the kid – he’s always somewhere you’re not and you can’t fathom it.
“Until you’re on the pitch with him, you’ll never understand. From the stands it’s like ‘oh, he’s turned him’. When you play the game and understand the midfield positions, you cannot fathom him.”
Pogba, who continues to spark talk of interest from Juventus and Real Madrid, has taken in 143 appearances for United since retracing his steps to England.
He has registered 31 goals across those outings, but had failed to trouble the scorers in an injury-plagued 2019-20 campaign prior to competitive football shutting down amid the coronavirus pandemic.
United hope that he will get the chance to right those wrongs when action resumes, with Pogba back to full fitness and “hungry” to start proving himself all over again.