Paul Pogba admits to having more “freedom” playing for France than he gets at club level with Manchester United, but the midfielder will always prioritise collective efforts over personal gain.
The World Cup winner concedes that he would like to score 15 goals a season for the Red Devils – having only hit that mark once across five seasons back in England – but he has a different role to play under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
He has no issue with that, with versatility allowing him to sit a little deeper on a domestic stage, but opportunities to release the shackles when turning out for his country will always be embraced.
What has been said?
Pogba told L’Equipe on the differences he experiences when representing club and country: “It’s true that at Juventus it was different from Manchester. We were playing three in the middle, in a 5-3-2. I had the freedom, I had to be in the box, to attack. It was an obligation.
“In Manchester, I have the freedom to go into the box, but the priority is to play, to defend.
“In the France team, we play a 4-2-3-1 too. I’m a little more involved in the transition, in the construction. But I have more freedom than in Manchester to get into the box, to make runs forward.
“At the same time, when you have Grizou (Antoine Griezmann), Kylian (Mbappe), you don’t want to enter their spaces, you don’t need to.”
Pogba added: “I would like to play more offensively. Scoring 15 goals per season, that’s what I would like.
“But, we must put ourselves at the service of the collective. In Manchester, as with Les Bleus, the collective will always come before the player.
“Frankly, I still enjoy playing a little deeper. When Patrick (Vieira) said he preferred me at Juventus, I understand, I was able to express myself more further up, more with my technique. But it will always be the collective above everything else.”
The bigger picture
Pogba is approaching the final 12 months of his contract at OId Trafford, with inevitable transfer talk resurfacing as a result.
United have offered no indication that they are looking to sell, with an £89 million ($126m) asset still having an important role to play in their plans.
That remains the case with France as well, with Pogba looking to become a talismanic presence who leads by example.
He said: “In the locker room, I will speak. But, for example, in the France team, I know that (Raphael) Varane will be the one who will make a general speech.
“Me, I like to speak individually, to say to the players: ‘Ok, how are you feeling? If you see that is not good, you talk to me etc’. I try to put people at ease so that we are better on the pitch.
“A Zlatan Ibrahimovic has that charisma. He will scream at players to motivate them. Not me. I will speak to bring out the best in my team-mates.”