Darren Fletcher Talks Paul Pogba Tactical Concerns During First Man United Spell

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistNovember 6, 2018

Stoke City's Scottish midfielder Darren Fletcher (L) challenges Manchester United's French midfielder Paul Pogba (R) during the English Premier League football match between Manchester United and Stoke City at Old Trafford in Manchester, north west England, on January 15, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / Oli SCARFF / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  /         (Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP/Getty Images)
OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

Former Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher has said there were concerns about Paul Pogba's tactical discipline during his first spell at the football club. 

Pogba joined the United youth setup in 2009 before leaving for Juventus in 2012. Four years later, the France midfielder returned to Old Trafford for a world-record transfer fee, having enjoyed tremendous success in Serie A.

Fletcher, who had a 12-year career in the United first team, spoke on Sky Sports' Monday Night Football  about how he dealt with Pogba during a time coaching the Red Devils reserve team the Frenchman was in:

"In that team we played Pogba a lot higher up the pitch and in more advanced, attacking areas whether that be central or wide right or left. We felt like he was the one player in the team that would go and win us games.

"It was also because of the fact that we thought he had a bit of ill-discipline in the middle of the park as a normal central midfielder."

Fletcher highlighted a specific game against Blackburn Rovers where United were suffering with an injury crisis in midfield and Pogba was still left on the bench by iconic manager Sir Alex Ferguson.

"At that time we didn't feel like he was disciplined enough for the reserve team to be playing in the middle of the park so to then jump to be playing in the first team in an important game was a big step," said the West Bromwich Albion midfielder. "He saw himself more as a central midfielder, but we saw him more as an attacking midfielder who could get in areas and be a match-winner."

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 11:  Paul Pogba of Manchester United is challenged by Marc-Antoine Fortune of West Bromwich Albionduring the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and West Bromwich Albion at Old Trafford on March 11, 2012 in
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Despite highlighting some concerns earlier in his career, Fletcher went on to say he's been impressed with the form of Pogba recently and particularly encouraged by some of his links with Anthony Martial.

Here's more of what Fletcher had to say about the French duo:

Sky Sports MNF @SkySportsMNF

"That could be a big part of @ManUtd going forward." 🔥 Darren Fletcher looks at Paul Pogba's best position for Jose Mourinho's side...📋🔴 Watch #MNF with @Carra23 and Darren Flecher live on Sky Sports Premier League now! https://t.co/Pu496D1spu https://t.co/HtuzvpXPVp

Paul Hayward of the Daily Telegraph was impressed with how Fletcher, who won five Premier League titles and the UEFA Champions League at Old Trafford, broke down Pogba's game:

Paul Hayward @_PaulHayward

Darren Fletcher’s very good on Monday Night Football, eg insight on Paul Pogba in his first spell at Man Utd (he was better up the pitch). Calm, thoughtful analysis. Can tell @Carra23 is impressed.

Pogba continues to divide opinion in the football world. This season he has an impressive five goals and four assists in all competitions for the Red Devils, although on occasions he can make rash decisions on the ball and seem to lose concentration.

Samuel Luckhurst of the Manchester Evening News praised his display in the recent 2-1 win over Bournemouth:

Samuel Luckhurst @samuelluckhurst

Pogba's brilliance shouldn't get lost amid the jubilation of Rashford's goal. Brilliant shimmy and cross to get it just above Ake. #mufc

All eyes will be on Pogba in the Champions League on Wednesday, as he returns to Juventus for a crucial showdown for the Red Devils.

At the moment, with Fred and Nemanja Matic alongside him in midfield, manager Jose Mourinho appears to be getting the best from his record signing. United supporters will be hoping this extra freedom will bring a greater consistency from their No. 6.