Paul Pogba has been accused of living in “a fantasy world” by Manchester United legend Paul Scholes, with questions continuing to be asked of his future at Old Trafford.
Reports of interest from Real Madrid continue to swirl around the World Cup-winning midfielder, with struggles for consistency across three seasons back in England edging him towards the exit.
Scholes is not convinced that the Red Devils should be parting with a player who boasts obvious talent, but concedes that the 26-year-old needs greater guidance and discipline.
The former United star told Premier League Productions: “There’s confusion in midfield. Is Pogba going to stay or go?
“In years gone by, United have lost top players and it didn’t really affect them. You think of Roy Keane going, David Beckham, Cristiano [Ronaldo] going, [Ruud] van Nistelrooy. All top, top players leaving the club.
“But you always had a squad of players that it didn’t really matter, you didn’t really miss them that much.
“We all know Paul, we talk about potential, but he’s 26 years of age, he’s got to start producing it week in week out.
“You’re going to be losing a player who you know can be world class.
“Can you talk about getting better players next to him? Who is out there that’s going to improve him?
“If he’s got a manager that is strong enough with him, you go back to [Massimiliano] Allegri at Juventus, and the players he was with there, he did a job in that team. He worked his absolute backside off, which he should be doing every week.
“You get the feeling now that he has come to this club and thinks he’s the big fish, he needs to be the one showing off every week, he’s doing things he doesn’t need to be doing on a football pitch.
“You see his stud roll, he needs to become more clever about what he’s doing.
“His strengths are running, passing the ball, getting into the box, scoring goals, assisting goals. Once he starts stud rolling and trying to beat men, it’s not his game, he becomes easy to play against.
“If he passes the ball forward and runs, there’s nobody in the world who can stay with him.
“It’s exactly what he did at Juventus but he had strong characters around him, he had [Giorgio] Chiellini, [Andrea] Pirlo, great players. He almost did their running for them.
“Now he thinks everybody has got to do his work for him and it’s going against him.
“We know what he can do and we know what he’s capable of. As soon as he complicates his game, he’s no good to your team whatsoever.
“Allegri was a strong manager for him and you would have expected [Jose] Mourinho to be. He left him out and didn’t have that much of an effect on him.
“He thinks he’s the big player, the one that needs to show people he’s the best in the world and he doesn’t.
“He just needs to play simple, he’s got team-mates around him who should appreciate him and do appreciate him.
“He’s a good lad, as a young player he wanted to learn, he was desperate to learn. I just don’t think he’s getting the maturity, the sense is not coming to him.
“At Juventus we saw the best midfield player in the world, without a shadow of a doubt. I think it’s because he had a strong manager, a top manager behind him and great players. Not just decent players like he’s got now, he had special players to guide him and to lead him. I don’t think United have that.
“He could be a player who needs a Bryan Robson or a Roy Keane next to him just to give him a little rollicking every now and then. If he doesn’t get that he just carries on in his own little fantasy world, thinking he’s the best.
“He’s part of a team, it’s not about him. It’s not just about me doing tricks and being on YouTube and showing Real Madrid or Barcelona how good I am.
“It’s about being part of a team at Manchester United. That’s why it’s so difficult to say do you lose him.
“Is there anybody with the ability at Manchester United to replace him? At this point I don’t think there is.”
Pogba’s contract at Old Trafford is due to run until 2021, with that agreement including the option for a 12-month extension.
Despite the criticism which has been aimed at him throughout the 2018-19 campaign, the France international has still been named in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year.
That has done little to curb the transfer speculation, though, which appears set to rumble on into the summer window.