Former Manchester United defender Paul Parker has suggested that the superb form of Bruno Fernandes will have dented Paul Pogba’s ego.
The Portugal international has been a big hit at Old Trafford since his move from Sporting Lisbon last January, instantly becoming one of the most important players in this Man Utd side.
That’s the kind of impact Pogba will have hoped to have, not to mention the kind of impact fans will have expected of him too since his big move from Juventus in 2016.
It hasn’t really worked out for the Frenchman at United, though in recent games he’s looked better and may finally be starting to show his full potential.
Parker believes Fernandes’ tremendous impact might have had an effect in that sense, as it will have hurt Pogba’s ego and given him the competition he perhaps needed in that midfield area.
Analysing the situation in his column for Eurosport, Parker said: “Paul Pogba’s recent performances have been reminiscent of the player from Juventus: he is respectful, humble and is not looking for excuses. Suddenly he has become a team player again. He’s earning the right to play.
“However, let’s reserve judgement as we have been here before – Pogba needs to be consistently excellent; great players don’t play well the odd game, they have consistency.
“However, this week, at least, Pogba has been – alongside Bruno Fernandes – United’s best player. If the season was over three games then great. It’s quite interesting that his level has spiked as United start to challenge at the top.”
He added: “In 2020 he was playing in the shadow of Fernandes and that will have dented his ego too.
“Pogba was signed for a big fee; his marketability and profile – as well as his playing ability – suited Manchester United. But the best profile you can ever have is to be an excellent footballer, and while Fernandes came in with a much lower profile, his status has outgrown Pogba’s and for the right reasons: he’s at the top of the tree for being brilliant.
“And you can’t beat competition. In any industry, if competition comes along and you just sulk about it, then you’re not going to survive. You have to improve to get respect. Paul Ince was in a constant battle with Roy Keane to show who was the best central midfield player and in that 1993/94 season we won an FA Cup and Premier League title. Nothing beats competition.
“Fernandes quickly became the key man when he arrived and it became Manchester United and Fernandes, not Pogba. It was Pogba before for the wrong reasons, now it’s Fernandes for goals and assists. United need that from Pogba now to challenge for the title, for him to not drop below a 7/10 in any game.”