Former Manchester United midfielder Darren Fletcher has revealed the reason for Sir Alex Ferguson's distrust of Paul Pogba.
The Frenchman is back at United, having left on a free transfer in 2012. Pogba developed into one of Europe's best in Italy, prompting the Red Devils to re-sign him for a then transfer record fee of £89m in 2016.
He has since been linked with another exit, having struggled to adapt under Jose Mourinho. But there are lingering questions over why he was allowed to leave United in the first place.
Fletcher - one of the legendary coach's most trusted players during his time at the club - has sought to explain Ferguson's thinking when he allowed the talented teenager to join Juve for nothing.
“I did a spell coaching with the [Manchester United] reserve team which included Paul Pogba, Jesse Lingard, Ravel Morrison - a lot of talented players,” Fletcher said on Monday Night Football via TEAMtalk.
“We played [Pogba] a lot higher up the pitch in attacking areas and we felt like he was the one that could go and win us games really.
“A combination of the fact that we felt he had a little bit of ill-discipline in the middle of the park as more of a central midfielder.
“It goes back to that famous game which we though he left Manchester United off the back of, when we lost to Blackburn 3-2.
“Everyone was injured really, all the midfielders – Ji-sung Park, Phil Jones and Rafael had spells in midfield, and Paul was on the bench.
“I think at that time we didn’t think he was disciplined enough for the reserve team so to then to jump into the first team in an important game – people can see why [we didn’t start him].”
Fletcher now plays for Championship side Stoke City, having signed for the Potters after his deal at West Brom expired last year. He is way more impressed by Pogba nowadays, but reckons the midfielder would be much better if he was handed some more liberty.
“I like to see him in the final third and creating things,” he continued.
“He played for Juventus [on the left] and I spoke before about his connection with [Anthony] Martial.
“Pogba can easily drift out wide. He can also get in the box, he’s a big lad. I’d love to see him with a bit more freedom to express himself.”