It's not hard to understand why Paul Pogba loves international breaks so much.
When he puts on that blue jersey of France, he becomes one of the most popular players on the planet. His own fans adore him and even rivals can't help but admit that they are watching greatness whenever he steps out on to the pitch.
At this summer's European Championships, Pogba has undeniably been among the best players. The midfielder has consistently excelled in every area of the pitch and has helped mask over France's issues. Les Bleus haven't even been that good this summer, yet because of Pogba (and a few others), they are still seen as favourites to win the whole thing.
What makes Pogba's situation so strange is that these performances at the Euros are simultaneously an enormous surprise and the least shocking thing ever.
Back in 2018, Pogba completely mauled the entire planet en route to lifting the World Cup. We ended that summer convinced he was the greatest midfielder in the game, and then the next three years happened.
Turning out for Manchester United, Pogba has struggled to replicate his international form. He's not been bad, but the Frenchman hasn't looked like the undisputed superstar he is for his country.
Those slightly above-average performances have left many United fans calling for him to be sold, and pundits have joined the pile-on by questioning who would actually want to sign him. How could any team think Pogba is worth big money?
Well, because he actually is.
With France, Pogba is this perfect machine. He's a physical powerhouse capable of disrupting attacks, but equally as happy skipping past a defender with the ball at his feet or pinging a 40-yard pass across the pitch to keep his side moving forward. When using his full skill set, he's impossible to stop.
Pogba is the dream midfielder with France, and he credits that to having more freedom when he plays for his country than when he plays for his club.
"[With France] we play a 4-2-3-1, in a diamond too," he said recently. "I am a little more involved in the build-up, in the construction. But I have more freedom than in Manchester to enter the box, to make runs forward."
We're seeing that on full display this summer. Pogba has been everywhere for France and nearly opened his account for the competition with a glorious curling effort against Portugal. It's not his job to score goals, but blessed with the freedom to actually try, Pogba is looking as dangerous as ever before.
We don't get this version of Pogba at United. Instead of letting N'Golo Kante do his dirty work, Pogba has to get his hands dirty alongside Scott McTominay, Fred or Nemanja Matic. None of them boast Kante's work rate at the back (does anyone?), so Pogba has to chip in, and it comes at the expense of some of this flair at the other end of the field.
The famous question of 'How can United get the best out of Pogba?' is still being asked, and the fact that nobody has figured that out in his five years at the club has left fans feeling justifiably frustrated. How can a player be so good, yet so difficult to actually utilise to the maximum? If a player needs Kante's superhuman talents to help him out, can he really be that good?
Until Pogba can carry over his international form to his club, those questions will still be asked, and there will be plenty of fans convinced that Pogba is not worth the trouble.
You only have to watch him play with France to see why United disagree.
Source : 90min