Manchester United legend Gary Neville has challenged the struggling Paul Pogba to prove that he’s the world’s best player.
With United winning just one of their opening four Premier League games, Pogba has come under some heavy criticism once more.
The French midfielder’s struggles to live up to the high expectations at Old Trafford seem set to become a regular topic for this season after some forgettable performances against Crystal Palace and Southampton.
Pogba also missed a penalty that ultimately held United to a 1-1 draw at Wolves last month.
The Red Devils are, therefore, down in eighth-place in the Premier League and already seven points adrift of leaders Liverpool.
Despite the strong criticism, however, Neville believes Pogba must get over it as it’s all part of the package of being United’s main man.
“Paul Pogba is now the obsession, because he’s the biggest player at the biggest club, he’s a World Cup winner and it should be a compliment that people are talking about it,” the former full-back told Off The Ball.
“When I criticised Paul Pogba after the penalty incident at Wolves, I don’t see it as being any different than the criticism of Roy Keane or David Beckham or Wayne Rooney [back when Neville was playing].
“The best player, the leader, the captain in the team, will stand up and he will take the brunt of the criticism. Just as the manager will and the coach will.
“It won’t be the assistant coach, it won’t be the left winger or the right-back or the left-back, it will be the player who is the number one player in the team and that’s never changed.
“I speak to people, apparently he’s a great lad, he trains well, he’s a really good person – to be fair, I was at the club with him when he was a young lad.
“So when people criticise him or put the pressure on him or apply the pressure to him, it’s because he’s the best, he’s the shining light.
“He’s the Bryan Robson of the 80’s now. United were in trouble, people hung everything on Bryan Robson, everybody now hangs a lot on Paul Pogba.”
In a squad that has an average age of just 26, Pogba is now one of the more senior members at Old Trafford.
And Neville believes the former world record signing must embrace this and carry the team, while proving himself as the greatest player on the planet.
The ex-Red Devils skipper added: “But that’s the pressure that he wants, he wants to be the best player in the world. So now go and show us you’re the best player in the world.
“Carry this team, which is young, inexperienced, hasn’t got the most know-how, needs leaders and characters on the pitch.
“And I said two weeks ago on television, wouldn’t it be great if he thought of himself as being the Player of the Year this year.
“What does he need to do that? Carry Manchester United into the Champions League, win the Europa League, drive them forward.
“Take it as your responsibility, you’re at this club for 12 months and you’re going to be the best player in the league and one of the best players in the world.
“That’s what I want from Paul Pogba, that’s what I want from him because I believe he’s capable of doing it. I have faith in him to do it.
“But then I see an incident like Wolves, and that disappoints me. So he has to take the criticism for that.”