Premier League English

Paul Pogba’s reaction to Bruno Fernandes penalty says it all

France World Cup winner and Manchester United’s £80million acquisition, Paul Pogba, clearly made known his desire to leave Manchester United last summer, having only made nine appearances this season for the club.

A look at replays recapitulating Bruno Fernandes’ penalty shot tucking in Man United’s equaliser against Tottenham on Friday night would suffice to show fans how the French midfielder really feels about the club now.

Truthfully in retrospect, his £80million return to United si far didn’t quite turn out like United supporters had hoped it would. Call him a flop would be too harsh a judgment although labeling him a successful acquisition wouldn’t be a true assessment either. Unfortunately for him and the club thus far, Pogba has fallen into an awkward gray area in between. Undeniably, for someone with his price tag, abilities – not even bringing into play his ridiculously immense talent and World Cup-winning acclaim – that’s obviously unjustifiable.

Prior to the resumption of football after the lockdown, there had been a build-up of mistrust among United fans surrounding the Frenchman, as he had clearly not consistently demonstrated his class for the club, not to forget also his constant fallouts with former manager Jose Mourinho that gave rise to concern.

Then the sledgehammer blow came last summer with his, and his agent Mino Raiola’s, announcement of wanting to leave the club for a bigger challenge. Despite the provocation, United stood firm and held onto their belief in their best player.

Then his early season form was encouraging but injuries took hold of him and things again lapsed into a state of limbo. His last game before Friday night’s encounter was on Boxing Day. It was just inopportune timing that his recovery from injury coincided with the pandemic lockdown.

One can’t help but wonder how all this time away from football affected his feelings towards the club. Could it have exacerbated his desire to leave? Or had time and reflection made him want to stay on and prove his worth?

Only Pogba himself can truly answer those questions.

Fortunately for Old Trafford’s loyals, what transpired in the match between Spurs and United clearly showed desire and commitment from the 27-year-old on his comeback.

The penetrating run that resulted in the awarding of the penalty kick was a clear vindication of his skill. His acceptance of Fernandes taking the penalty showed maturity and his reaction to it showed sincere passion and joy. No celebratory usual fist pump, no turn and dashing back to his own half. Pogba simply clenched both fists and bowed his head in a dedicated symbolic act of pure, passionate celebration.

His was the action of a man celebrating as much, if not more, than any fan at home. This is how Paul Pogba really feels about United.

If he can help spur United on to a Champions League place, it might just be enough to make him want to stay at a club he now seems to care about, leaving his agent out of the equation, that is.