© Getty Images Manchester United midfielder Paul PogbaPeter Schmeichel believes Paul Pogba is a “problem child” for Manchester United as he questioned the star midfielder’s place in Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s XI.
Pogba produced a relatively underwhelming performance after United were held to a 1-1 Premier League draw by visiting Arsenal at Old Trafford on Monday.
The French World Cup winner, who was linked to Real Madrid and Juventus during the transfer window, overcame an ankle problem to start against Arsenal in Manchester.
However, former United goalkeeper Schmeichel was not happy with Pogba’s display as the Red Devils made their worst start to a Premier League season following just nine points from seven games.
“The way the ball is being moved around when Pogba is in the team is different to the pace the ball is being moved around when he’s not in the team,” Schmeichel told Stadium Astro. “That is something I think they need to work on. If Pogba is playing in this team he needs to speed it up a bit. He was seriously slowing it down, in the first 25 minutes just basically playing the ball backwards.
“For a player of his calibre that was disappointing. I don’t understand what his role in this team is. Even when Ole made the substitutions and put Pogba further forward, not a lot happened. There were two very good passes in the game from Pogba but it’s two, it’s not 15. And I see that as a problem. He takes up so much attention. It kind of feels like he’s a problem child in this team.
“When you have someone who takes up so much attention, we need to understand what is his role, what is he going to do for this Manchester United team? I think the players are good enough around him.
“He was kind of hiding a little bit in the first half, especially in the first half. Second half was a little bit better. Of course when he gets moved further forward his defensive responsibilities are a bit less, then he gets the ball a bit more. He’s not playing in the same way he did last season for sure.
“It’s just all this slowing up, I think they need to find out what his role is, how Manchester United should play with him in the team. Then it should be communicated so that everyone [understands], 75,000 [fans] here are not too happy about him, to be fair. You kind of hear that around, people don’t like Pogba that much because he doesn’t do much for the team. But we’ve seen the world-class quality, how do we get him to perform that in this Manchester United team?
“I’m not saying he’s doing everything wrong, I’m more confused as to what his job is. He’s a world-class player, you expect someone like him to take charge of the game, to direct the young players, there were seven academy players today, to be the guy they can look towards and find guidance when it’s difficult.
“But it’s kind of the other way around which is so weird. With his statistics, sometimes you have the goalkeeper from the bottom team having the best statistics because he makes the most saves, you can’t really put much into those kind of statistics. It’s more for me what the eyes are seeing and there’s a big difference watching Manchester United on TV and actually sat in the stand and watching what’s going on. For me it’s not great to have that kind of player in the team in this period of time.”