Paul Pogba has accepted that the No.10 role at Manchester is “no longer his”, with Bruno Fernandes thriving in that position, but the French midfielder is embracing competition for places, says Luke Chadwick.
The World Cup winner has not always had to fight for regular game time at Old Trafford, with a lack of quality alternatives and an £89 million ($121m) price tag ensuring that he started when fit.
That has not always been the case under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, with the Norwegian prepared to overlook those who are considered to not be pulling their weight.
That accusation has been levelled at Pogba on plenty of occasions throughout a second spell in England, with more expected from the talented 27-year-old.
Endless rounds of transfer talk have accompanied the questions of his commitment and form, with Mino Raiola claiming recently that a move elsewhere is now inevitable.
Pogba has rediscovered an on-field spark in the wake of those comments, with Chadwick of the opinion that a France international is finally offering a positive response to the many challenges that he faces.
The former United winger told CaughtOffside: “Pogba’s done really well in the last few games, particularly the Aston Villa game.
“He’ll probably be annoyed at himself that he didn’t take a few chances in the box, but I think all the club’s top players are benefitting from more competition in the team.
“Pogba’s obviously realised that that number 10 position is no longer really his because Bruno Fernandes is going to start every game when he’s fit, and Fred and [Scott] McTominay have done well in those holding roles, [Nemanja] Matic is having a good influence as well.
“Pogba’s definitely put more of a shift in and I think that competition for places is bringing out the best in players, with that central midfield full of players pushing each other to get the best out of each other.
“At left-back as well you see Alex Telles and Luke Shaw pushing each other, and Eric Bailly as well looking the part while Victor Lindelof is out injured.
“[Edinson] Cavani’s come in and scored goals, so there’s certainly competition bringing the best out of everyone and Pogba’s top of the list after his performances in recent weeks.”
Pogba has taken in 20 appearances for United this season, just two short of the tally he managed in the entire 2019-20 campaign, and has contributed two goals and three assists to the collective cause.