Manchester United need to call Paul Pogba’s bluff and find out how badly he wants to be as great as he could be

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It is high time Manchester United, whether that be Jose Mourinho or Ed Woodward or the Glazers or the wolves of Wall Street or all of them, called Paul Pogba’s bluff.

Sit him down, put a new contract on the table and ask him what he wants to be.

A man, or an emoji-loving, social media mouse. A legend, or a video-game totem.

A player, or a poser. A footballer, or a fraud. A leader, or a follower.

A peerless performer, or a prancer. The bald truth, or just another haircut.

Pogba rocks up on France duty this week, having been key (see below) to their World Cup win
(Image: Reuters)

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It is time United told Pogba, one of the most prodigiously gifted operators of his generation, to stop messing about.

Time they told him that turning it on when you are behind the eight-ball now and again – like against Newcastle this season and at Manchester City in April – simply does not cut it.

Time they told him he could be so good for United he might one day have a statue outside Old Trafford.

Time they told him his name could trip off the tongues that speak of modern-day United heroes such as Robson, Keane, Ronaldo and Rooney.

Pogba is that good. Promise you.

The midfielder turned it on as United came from 2-0 down to beat Newcastle…
(Image: Getty)
…and with two goals to delay City’s title party — but such performances are too rare
(Image: Getty)

I have been an advocate of United letting Pogba go. Have been as frustrated with his posturing as anybody else. As tired of his egocentricity as the next man or woman. As bored of his hinting at a move to Spain as everyone.

Yet he remains not just a game-changer but a game-grabber. By the throat.

As those in the know who like to patronise those of us out of the know would say… he’s a player, make no mistake.

But a player is all he will be if he flits from one big earner to another.

The whole Manchester United scenario is a complex one right now, mainly down to having a head coach who lives in a hotel room, often looks like he hates being anywhere near the place and behaves pretty daftly at times.

And also seems to have suddenly decided Pogba is not captaincy material.

The dynamic between Pogba and Mourinho is a soap opera into its second year
(Image: Action Images via Reuters)
Play like he can more often, and the Frenchman IS the stuff captains are made of
(Image: Sky Sports)

Pogba certainly performed like a captain in that second half against Newcastle.

OK, it was ‘only Newcastle’ and at Old Trafford, but Saturday’s successful fightback should remain startling evidence that the Frenchman can still be a towering force under Mourinho.

A few more of these performances would surely persuade even this most ardent grudge-holder to again change his mind on the captaincy issue.

Pogba has this season and two more remaining on his contract.

Offering him a new deal now would not be giving him a reward he ill-deserves. It would be asking him if he fancies being the long-term future of a great club, a footballing institution.

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If he does not, then fine. And if his contributions continue to be erratic and his dynamic with the coach continues to be troublesome, consider any offers next summer.

But there lies a magnificent talent in Pogba.

One that could, just could, eventually give him a place alongside Old Trafford greats.

That day is a long way off, but it is high time United found out if Pogba wants that day to arrive.

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