Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba cannot be considered “top-class” and on the same level as Liverpool legend Steven
Gerrard, says Rafa Benitez.
The France international made his return to competitive action against Benitez’s Newcastle following a lengthy spell on
the sidelines with a hamstring complaint.
Pogba slotted seamlessly back into the Old Trafford fold, with a talismanic display helping Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils to a convincing 4-1 victory .
The 24-year-old has earned plenty of plaudits on the back of his display, but former Liverpool boss Benitez believes he still has some way to go before being
placed in a talent bracket alongside modern day icons.
He told reporters when pressed on
comparisons between Pogba and ex-
England captain Gerrard: “They’re
different. Stevie was a top-class player
for so many years.
“He was very consistent and could make
the difference in every game, with or
without the ball.
“He was a top-class player. Pogba is a
great player, but he still has to be
consistent for years like Stevie was for
10 or 15 years.
“Pogba is not my player, so I don’t need
to talk too much about him. He’s a great
player, like the majority of the
Manchester United players.
“But I’m concentrated on trying to
improve my players.”
Pogba scored one and created another
as he returned with a bang against
Mourinho billed him as “different class”
in the wake of an eye-catching
performance, while the £89 million man
admitted to feeling “blessed” at being
back out on the field.
Having sat out 12 games through injury,
Pogba said: “To come back, to play
again, to see Old Trafford, to see the fans
again, to score on my comeback, I feel
“Most of last season I had injuries, but
small ones. You just have to recover well
because the Premier League is different
“It’s more intense and you have to think
about recovery, then you have more
“I’ve trained very hard to come back fit.
The season is really long so we have to
be fit – not only me but all the players.”
Victory over Newcastle kept United
second in the Premier League table,
eight points adrift of arch-rivals
Manchester City at the summit.