Pogba should not start for France: Lizarazu
French former World Cup winner Lizarazu says Manchester United star is lacking self-belief
A Paul Pogba lacking in self-confidence should not start for France at the World Cup, according to French former World Cup and European Championship winner Bixente Lizarazu.
Pogba, who was the world's most expensive player when he rejoined Manchester United for £89.3 million (S$163.3m) in August 2016, has struggled in recent times, with Red Devils manager Jose Mourinho dropping him in favour of 21-year-old youth product Scott McTominay.
After United's Champions League last-16 exit by unfancied Sevilla on Wednesday, former Red Devils midfield generals Roy Keane and Paul Ince slammed the French midfielder.
Both players had previously backed Pogba, but Keane now admits the 25-year-old is "a big problem for United"and likened his showing against Sevilla to "a schoolboy" while Ince called his performance "sulky".
Former Champions League winner Lizarazu told The New Paper that a Pogba that struggles at United should not be in France's first XI at the World Cup in Russia in June.
"If he is playing at his normal level... the level we expect of him, then definitely he has to play," said the 48-year-old, who is in Singapore for the Bayern Youth Cup at Our Tampines Hub this weekend.
"But if he lacks self-confidence, like it's looking at Manchester United, then there could be other options, depending on what Didier Deschamps wants to do...
"We have very good midfield options in France - (Adrien) Rabiot, (Blaise) Matuidi, N'Golo Kante, (Corentin) Tolisso. We have different options."
In addition to that quartet, Les Bleus coach Deschamps has also tried out Moussa Sissoko, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Steven N'Zonzi - who dominated Pogba when Sevilla dumped United out of the Champions League - in the engine room.
While none of the midfield options Deschamps has at his disposal are as talented as Pogba, fielding him also comes with the problem of where to play him.
Like his performances, there has been much debate about Pogba's best position, with Mourinho angrily hitting back at pundits who suggest he should be freed of defensive responsibility.
Former left back Lizarazu believes Pogba needs "a little bit of freedom" to maximise his talents.
"For me, he's not a No. 6 in front of the defence, he's a box-to-box player, a No.8, because of his offensive ability," said the fullback who won the World Cup in 1998, Euro 2000 and the Champions League in 2000/01.
" He's not a player with a tactically way of playing, he needs a little bit of freedom.
"But he is a player with incredible potential, who has to control his way of playing.
"He sometimes has to play more simply and concentrate and be more focused.
"This season has not been fantastic. He can play much better, including for France."