When Paul Pogba arrived at Old Trafford last summer, it was apparent that Jose Mourinho had bought the ex-Juventus star to utilise him in a position similar to where Cesc Fabregas featured during his first year at Chelsea.

That is one of football’s most unspecified yet menacing tactical roles, usually meant for holding midfielders who have a tendency to get involved in the attack.

Pogba began the season in that area of the pitch, but the Red Devils seemed a bit too open since the Frenchman enjoyed bombing forward at any given opportunity.

As a result, Mourinho decided to change his formation to 4-3-3, paving the way for the 24-year-old to advance into attacking positions when needed, without really hurting the team’s shape defensively.

Since then, it does not appear as though the United boss has been required to micro-manage Pogba on where he should be and with every passing game, the midfielder seems to be improving his positioning.

With that said, someone like Ander Herrera, a man highly skilled at breaking up play, will always be a great aid to a player with the attributes of Pogba who is more of a luxury, ball playing midfielder.

When paired up in midfield, the duo’s partnership is very reminiscent of the Yaya Toure/Fernandinho combination at Manchester City a couple of years ago where Fernadinho was the ‘legs’, and Toure had the quality to create danger in the final third.

Even so, I do not expect Pogba and Herrera to be the idle partnership for big games. That midfield unit would not be disciplined enough against quality attackers and therefore, calling upon an extra defensive player for matches against the top six teams in the Premier League or away games is a much safer choice.

During his days at Stamford Bridge, Mourinho preferred to deploy Fabregas further forward in big games, bringing in a more defensive option like John Mikel Obi or Ramires to pair up with Nemanja Matic.

Against the so-called ‘lesser teams’, playing Pogba in the deeper role is reasonable since he possesses more than enough quality to do so, and his passing range is of much more use.

However, an opponent with a threatening attack of its own would trouble United’s midfield if the Frenchman is the one ordered to protect the back four.

Thus, ahead of next season, the addition of a natural defensive midfielder at United will be required to strengthen that department, especially after the sale of Morgan Schneiderlin.

Matthew HopkinsPost
When Paul Pogba arrived at Old Trafford last summer, it was apparent that Jose Mourinho had bought the ex-Juventus star to utilise him in a position similar to where Cesc Fabregas featured during his first year at Chelsea. That is one of football's most unspecified yet menacing tactical roles, usually meant for holding...