The Red Devils midfielder has seen his efforts recognised by his peers, but Rene Meulensteen believes the Frenchman would be overlooked by rivals
Paul Pogba may have made the PFA Premier League Team of the Year, but former Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen says the Frenchman “wouldn’t get in the City team”.
The World Cup-winning midfielder was a surprise selection in the English top-flight selection for 2018-19.
His efforts have been recognised by his peers, with Pogba picked by his fellow professionals after recording 13 goals and nine assists this season.
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While the 26-year-old may have done enough to catch the eye of those around him, Meulensteen claims he would not get a look in under Pep Guardiola at title-chasing rivals if he were to cross the Manchester divide.
A man who helped to launch the France international’s senior career at Old Trafford told Training Ground Guru: “I know Pogba’s in the PFA team of the year, but he wouldn’t get in the City team, not with Pep.
“Yaya Toure could do brilliant things, but he ultimately wasn’t able to do what Pep wanted.
“He went missing for periods and couldn’t do the pressing or fast rhythm with the ball that was required.
“When Pogba gets going he’s fast, but he’s not light on his feet. With City, if you lose the ball, you have to win it back as fast as you can and then move it quickly.”
Meulensteen feels Pogba has been unable to unlock his true potential despite having tasted considerable success in Italy with Juventus and becoming a world champion with his country.
He claims United were looking for him to become a midfield general in the Patrick Vieira mould when stepping out of their academy system, with such a standing yet to be achieved.
The Dutchman added on a talented but enigmatic performer: “We always brought a lot of reserves to train with the first team and Paul was the one we were looking at for the following season.
“I worked with him in some smaller groups and we were looking to measure him up with the first-team players. Paul was on the verge of the first team and Jesse Lingard was another big hope.
“Paul had similar traits to Patrick Vieira – he’s tall, strong, can drive forward and is able to find a pass.
“That’s the type of player we thought he could become for us, but then he went to Juventus.”
Pogba returned to Old Trafford in the summer of 2016 as part of an £89 million ($115m) deal but, despite taking in League Cup and Europa League triumphs and making over 100 appearances, his future is being called into question once more amid struggles for consistency.