July 27, 2021

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Keane, Neville blames Pogba for France Euro 2020 exit

3 min read

Paul Pogba was criticised by Manchester United pair Gary Neville and Roy Keane as France were knocked out of Euro 2020 by Switzerland.

The French were beaten on penalties in the last 16 on Monday night, in an incredible game to end a wonderful day of football.

France were trailing 1-0 at half-time, fought back to lead 3-1 with 10 minutes to play, before Switzerland scored a quick double to take the game to penalties.

And Yann Sommer superbly saved Kylian Mbappe’s spot-kick to knock out the favourites and world champions.

Karim Benzema scored twice for France before Pogba’s stunning curled effort gave them a two goal lead.

The United midfielder was excellent on the front foot in general, with his magnificent passing range on show for all to see.

But both Keane and Neville say they were “frustrated” by his display and claimed he took too many “risks” on the ball with France in control of the game.

Neville told ITV: “We saw the best and the worst of him in the second half.

“This is the best of him, absolutely world class strike. Brilliant.

“At this point in the game, he’d played a great pass through just before that, he was starting to get into the game, combining, he was running the game.

“When your team is on top, he’s absolutely outstanding.”

Neville also added: “He takes risks on the ball, but you want those risks to be in the final third, not in the defensive third, and they get counter-attacked on.”

Meanwhile, Keane added: “He can be frustrating. This is all a part of Paul’s character, which people love to see, but then I’d be looking at the goal they conceded in injury time, where he was sloppy in midfield. That’s the bit I’d be really critical about.

“It seems harsh because he’s done some brilliant stuff going forward tonight. There’s no doubting Paul’s quality, just the other side, maybe his maturity.

“We’ve mentioned all night, and United have had the same problem, can he play in a two in midfield? He probably can’t, doesn’t have the discipline.

“He was at his best in Juventus when he probably got a bit more freedom and was surrounded by more men, more characters, probably better quality players.

“But even today, he still leaves you frustrated. For all his brilliant quality coming forward, I still think he lacks that discipline defensively.

“That’s the key, the top players manage to do it week in week out and Paul, to me, still doesn’t quite do it.”

Legendary France midfielder Patrick Vieira agreed with Keane and Neville, claiming that Pogba needs to be pushed more to truly reach his potential, instead of showing spurts of brilliance.

“I completely agree,” the ex-Arsenal skipper chimed in. “When you look at his potential, what he can do on the field, you’re expecting more from him.

“I think if he played next to Roy, he would maybe be a different player, because what he needs is somebody behind his back to put him under pressure and be really demanding on him.

“I think if we’d been consistent, been behind him and put him under pressure every single day, he would improve.

“But obviously it is frustrating because he can give much more than what he’s giving to the team.”

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