Jamie Carragher called him a ‘defensive liability, Frank Lampard was unsure of his best position while Paul Merson even suggested that he would rather have Jordan Henderson in his team. Seriously.
To be fair to Lampard, at least, his criticism back in March was not that outrageous; Paul Pogba had not looked all that comfortable in United’s rigid 4-2-3-1 up until that point.
For a player who has always played in central midfield, thousands of words and hundreds of heat maps were used to try and discern Pogba’s best position.
But some overstepped the mark.
“It is not his fault that some pundits are in real trouble with their lives and need every coin to survive while Paul is a multimillionaire,” Jose Mourinho later hissed.
And he had a point. As well as being the world-record transfer holder, up until August, the 24-year-old became an easy target given his flamboyance and style.
That is partly why Garth Crooks, Eamon Dunphy and Graeme Souness, three throwbacks to grittier times, have been so keen to offer their two cents – even when Pogba has been United’s best player this season.
Unlike Souness, for example, Pogba hates the tactical side of training, particularly work on defensive shape, and loathes drills without the ball.
Crooks, meanwhile, berates the France superstar’s hairstyle – of all things – on a weekly basis. God knows what he will make of his bleached goatee when he walks out at Ashton Gate!
But that pre-match ritual, of visiting the barbers, is certainly not an issue for United fans anymore. Or Pogba’s habit of standing to admire those Hollywood passes. Or even his social media antics.