Rio Ferdinand has challenged Paul Pogba to start producing consistently if he believes Manchester United are close to winning things.
The midfielder has enjoyed his best season at United since returning to the club in 2016, and put in another excellent performance against Tottenham Hotspur at the weekend.
Ferdinand believes Pogba has struggled with the fact he joined a United team that was struggling to win trophies.
Yet, speaking on his Vibe with Five podcast, Ferdinand said he believes Pogba can sense United are starting to challenge for top trophies again.
He said: “Do you know the mad thing about Paul Pogba? He left United when they were winning everything and, when he came back, he found a very different Man United.
“I think that stunned him and took him back, it wasn’t what he remembered – ‘this ain’t the same, the winners aren’t here no more’ – and I think it took him back.
“Bearing in mind he was off the back of winning a World Cup, he came back and nothing had changed. The club’s direction was a bit skew-whiff and I think that messed with him.
“He’d been winning at Juventus and then France and he wanted to win.
“Not everyone is a person that can galvanise a football club but you can be part of that process and I think he’s very much someone who can be part of that.
“Now we see him smelling blood and smelling that, actually, we could be onto something here – ‘I can see the improvement this year, we’ve gone from where we finished last year to second and we could win the Europa League, I can see next season we’ll get closer again’.
“That whets his appetite and you see a different Paul Pogba, you see the Paul Pogba we all know and love. is in there”
He added: “It’s about doing that consistently now and I think that will come if he feels the club are built to win now.”
Ferdinand believes fans and pundits do not consider things from a player’s point of view often enough and says he can understand why Pogba may have questioned his United future.
He continued: “You’ve got to look at it from a professional footballer’s point of view as well sometimes, which we don’t, we’re all just fans and fairytale.
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Manchester United fought back superbly to beat Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 on Sunday afternoon.
After a VAR row following United’s disallowed goal in the first half, Son Heung-Min opened the scoring for Spurs. But United came roaring back in the second half to win, with goals from Fred, Edinson Cavani and Mason Grenwood.
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“A player is sat there thinking the clock is ticking and they can’t get used to not winning things, they start looking around at where else they could go – it’s disturbing and distracting.
“I’m not trying to give him excuses but I’m just thinking about some of the things that may have been going on behind the scenes as to why he’s not been as consistent and we’ve not seen this Paul Pogba as often as we’d have liked to have seen it.
“There’s no doubting that the guy, when he plays like this, is unbelievable. He’s world-class and a step above most other players on the planet.”