After a receiving a raft of criticism, sometimes from pundits and even some from his own manager, Tottenham Hotspur and France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris has defended his compatriot, Manchester United’s Paul Pogba. However, the Spurs and Les Blues skipper has also suggested that it is time for the former Juventus man to step his game up, with the French national side desperate to perform well at this summer’s World Cup.
Pogba has been the target for plenty of criticism in the past six months; manager’s from across the continent have offered plenty of opinions on everything from his performances to his hair. Admittedly, after an excellent start to last season, Pogba has since frequently flattered to deceive in a United shirt, but his international teammate offered words of encouragement ahead of this summer’s World Cup in Russia.
“Paul is no longer a young player,” Lloris told reporters in quotes carried by Goal.com. “He has collected experience with his club and with the national team. He has a lot of talent and that label has stuck with him since the beginning. He has had a very good season, although people still debate it. As a football player and as a football fan, I think he had a very good season. ‘He has the desire to shine with the French national team. Will he be ‘the boss’? That’s a strong word but a ‘leader’ is what is expected of him on and off the field. He is reaching maturity and he wants to do well. But it is also important that he focuses on his individual performance. This is the best way, to lead by example.”
This acts as one of the more measured critiques of Pogba’s current situation that you’ll find; honest without being overly critical whilst still pointing out the need for the player to up his game. After a tricky second season at Old Trafford, both United and France fans will be hoping that this summer’s tournament can act as a springboard for one of the most talented midfielders of this generation.