Manchester United’s season is over for a while now, but we continue looking at reviews of every player that played a part in the campaign. There will be plenty of time to see how are Man United players doing at the European Championship, which starts tonight in Rome, but for now we will keep up with the seasons our players had. After Harry Maguire, it is time for Paul Pogba and the campaign he had for the Red Devils. There is always a lot of talk around him and whether he will leave the club soon or not, whether he is fully commited to the team and so on. But let’s look at Pogba’s season from the numbers’ perspective and see what will we find out.
Paul Pogba has made 42 appearances for Man United this past season, across five different competitions. He played 26 times in the Premier League, scoring three goals and adding five assists. He also had three goals and four assists in the remaining competitions, making six appearances in the Europa League, five in the Champions, three in League Cup and two in FA Cup. What is interesting here is the playing time Pogba got under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. For example, he played just 1896 minutes in the Premier League and less 2900 in total across the whole campaign. Considering there were certain players with more than 4000 minutes on the pitch and in European clubs there were also those with more than 5000 in extreme cases, it shows Pogba was a) not always healthy and b) not always the first choice for Solskjaer.
While we are waiting to see how will Pogba play in the Euros, considering he always shines for France, we must take into consideration that under Solskjaer it was often the case the manager had Scott McTominay and Fred as primary options in central midfield, with Pogba on the bench. In the latter stages of the campaign, Pogba was getting more starts as a crossover of a left midfielder and left winger, being freed of most defensive responsibilities, something that has been a weakness of his for a while.
In sheer numbers, Pogba was elite central midfielder in the Premier League, whether that was his range of passing, progressive passing and ball-carrying, or dribbling past opponents. He was also very good in terms of shot-creating actions, assisting and even scoring, considering his position. Where did lack was in defensive numbers, such as pressing opposition players, where he ended up in the 16th percentile of all central midfielders, according to FBref. He was also less inclined to tackle and make interceptions…
In conclusion, Paul Pogba is a marvellous player when he is 100 per cent committed to a cause and the team. The problem is that often he does not look as if he is fully committed to Man United and he can be too lackadaisical on the pitch. Pogba is 28 now and he still has not shown his all for Man United, reaching the stage of his career when he should be at his peak, rather than a player that the Devils are still waiting to reach his full potential.