Why is Pogba better for France than Manchester United?
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Why is Pogba better for France than Manchester United?

It is so often discussed that it has almost become a cliché, but it certainly has a strong basis of something real: Paul Pogba looks a better player in the blue of France than the red of Manchester United.

For Les Bleus, the midfielder is one of the stars of the reigning world champions and current Euro 2020 favourites. For United, he has struggled to make a place in the team his own and live up to the hype.

There are various possible answers to this conundrum and each factor probably plays a part.

Firstly, there is the issue of status. Didier Deschamps has no qualms about building his midfield to benefit and get the most out of Pogba. The player himself has acknowledged he has more freedom for France.

Meanwhile, for Manchester UnitedBruno Fernandes is the talisman in midfield, given that attacking and creative license that Pogba might benefit from. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has deployed the Frenchman variously in a double pivot and even out wide.

Not being afforded - or having earned - a status within the team that demands he be used in his most effective position relates to the next factor: his role for France suits him better.

Pogba vs Bruno Fernandes

Most often used by Solksjaer in a double pivot alongside Scott McTominay or FredPogba has some license to get forward but most also take on considerable defensive duties. Bruno Fernandes, as a No.10, is the midfielder given freedom to roam around the park for the Red Devils.

Meanwhile, for FrancePogba has a more offensive role. N'Golo Kante plays in the holding role, allowing Adrien Rabiot and Pogba to get up and down. This suits Pogba and lets him show the qualities we know he has.

Kante is the next key factor. The Chelsea man is receiving widespread praise at the moment and rightly so: his ability to read the game and cover so much ground frees up players like Pogba and allows them to excel.

At Manchester UnitedPogba simply doesn't have that level of player beside him in midfield. For all that McTominay continues to improve and has done plenty to earn his place, he cannot be compared to Kante, either tactically or in terms of ability.

That leaves Pogba for United playing in a role that doesn't get the best out of him, with inferior teammates alongside him and not being the most attacking midfielder in the side. It makes total sense, therefore, that we don't see the same version of Pogba for his club as we do for France.

The Pogba debate myth

Then again, this debate does have its share of myth attached to it. Last season Pogba contributed six goals and nine assists in 42 matches for Manchester United.

In his entire France career - 81 caps - he has 10 goals and eight assists. Simple stats can be deceiving, but at a quick glance, it doesn't appear that Pogba is actually more effective for his national team than for the Red Devils.

There is certainly an argument to be made that this issue has been exaggerated by certain media narratives. Pogba does look better for France, but it's not a seismic shift and the reasons are quite simple.

Are they simple to solve? That's for Solskjaer to decide in the coming months, with Pogba entering the final 12 months of his contract at Old Trafford.

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