New Man United signing isn’t even next John Obi Mikel, claims ex-defender

Paul Parker has doubts over new Manchester United signing Paul Pogba playing in a holding role

The Sport Review staff
By The Sport Review staff

Paul Parker says he has reservations over Paul Pogba’s ability to play in a holding role for Manchester United.

The France international sealed a big-money move to Old Trafford from Serie A champions Juventus last week after months of speculation linking the 23-year-old with a return to United.

In a holding position it would be a waste because he’s not a Makelele or even a John Obi Mikel because one thing Mikel can do is close people down

Paul Parker

Pogba has been likened to former Red Devils captain Roy Keane and talismanic ex-United skipper Bryan Robson following his £92m transfer to the 20-time English champions.

However, retired England defender Parker, who scored two goals in 102 appearances for United, questioned whether Pogba is even as good as Chelsea’s John Obi Mikel in a holding role.

“Can he be as good as Roy Keane or Bryan Robson? I wonder about him playing that midfield role,” said Parker, speaking exclusively to 888sport.

“I worry about him making tackles and getting across to close players down because he is rangy. He doesn’t have quick feet and his game is about going to ground. That’s going to be a problem. In a holding position it would be a waste because he’s not a Makelele or even a John Obi Mikel because one thing Mikel can do is close people down.

“Pogba can get forward, and score goals, and pass the ball but in a high-tempo game he won’t be very good in a deep role. We saw that in the Euros where he looked lost for long periods of games when France didn’t have the ball.

“So when United don’t have the ball what’s he going to be like? Fellaini can’t do that either. Or Rooney. They can’t get around. Behind Ibrahimovic and Martial there will be changes because there is no way that midfield can last.”

Pogba won four successive Serie A titles in Turin after the midfielder moved to Juventus in a £800,000 deal from United in 2012 after failing to secure regular first-team football under Sir Alex Ferguson.

The 23-year-old France star scored eight times and made 12 assists in 35 Serie A appearances for Juventus in his final season at the Old Lady.

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The Frenchman is one of four summer signings for United after Jose Mourinho replaced Louis van Gaal in May.

Read the full 888sport interview with Paul Parker, including his thoughts on the future of ‘overweight’ Wayne Rooney

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