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 By Ian Holyman

Paul Pogba not struggling at Manchester United - Deschamps

Paul Pogba is having "a very good season" at Manchester United and "is not struggling," France coach Didier Deschamps has told SFR Sport.

Pogba has been criticised in recent weeks, with the 24-year-old lasting just over an hour before being substituted in his last two Premier League starts.

The France international, who became the world's most expensive player when he rejoined United from Juventus in 2016, started the recent 2-0 league win over Huddersfield Town on the bench.

But Pogba is expected to be one of France's key players at the World Cup, and Deschamps is confident that the midfielder is on track.

"I watch what he does -- he's not struggling. He had a little injury, he has been ill. For the moment, he's having a very good season with Manchester United," he said.

Deschamps also dismissed suggestions that the tactics used by United boss Jose Mourinho had limited Pogba's impact.

"Paul Pogba can play every midfield position, in a two or a three, without a problem," he said.

"I have seen him play very well in 4-3-3, I have seen him very good in a two with us. It's not the same thing.

"When we have three he has more freedom, he loves that, going forward, but when you're in a three you don't get as many touches.

"He's able to do that, he has the skills. He's creative, but he can also win the ball back and play it simple too.

"It's true that when we have two in front of the defence, there is less freedom. On the other hand he gets more touches, and he loves touches on the ball."

Paul Pogba has been substituted in his last two Premier League starts for United.

Pogba is likely to be joined in Deschamps' 23-man selection for Russia by Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Moussa Sissoko.

Sissoko endured a difficult first season after moving from Newcastle United in 2016 but has featuring in all but three of Spurs' Premier League games this time, starting 12.

Sissoko is seen by some pundits in France as a Deschamps favourite, but the coach denied any bias in his squad selections.

"Is it disrespectful to say he's the teacher's pet? Yes, because he deserves to be there," Deschamps said.

"You only need to look at the Euro 2016 final to see what he's capable of, and even before. He's not the same sort of player as Kingsley Coman or Kylian Mbappe. He's not the teacher's pet -- I think he's good.

"Moussa is the prototype solider. He was the soldier of [Alain] Casanova at Toulouse, he's the soldier of Pochettino at Tottenham, even if it was more difficult at the start. He doesn't worry about things.

"Whether he starts the game or comes on for two minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, he plays as he always does. He gives, he gives.

"He's very much appreciated by his teammates and feared by his opponents."

Ian is ESPN's French football correspondent. Twitter: @ian_holyman


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