Graeme Souness or Paul Pogba: Assessing Who Should Be Considered as the Better Player

Graeme Souness or Paul Pogba: Assessing Who Should Be Considered as the Better Player
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Almost every league in the world has been suspended, the entire planet is on high alert and still Graeme Souness cannot shut up about Paul Pogba. 

In the latest instalment of this pretty much one sided spat, everyone’s favourite/least favourite grumpy Scotsman had a dig at Pogba after the Frenchman let slip that he “didn’t even know who he was” when he arrived in England.

In the interest of balance it is important to note  – as many media outlets have failed to do recently – that the comment was not some snarky put down. It was a mere, innocent admission by Pogba that he genuinely hadn’t heard of the bloke. He even said some nice things about his verbal sparring partner afterwards. 

Graeme Souness

Despite all this, Souness issued a volcanic response, challenging the ​Manchester United midfielder to “put your medals on the table,” before sinisterly adding “I’ve got a big table” with a wry smile. 

Well, Graeme we hate to break it you but as 90min ​discovered earlier in the week the medal tallies are actually pretty close.

Debunking that myth got us thinking more widely about the two players. Specifically, who out of the two of them should be considered superior. Pick your sides people, this one’s going to be messy.


Goalscoring 

Paul Pogba

​From a purely statistical standpoint Souness edges this category, with his 73 league goals giving him a slight lead. 

However, you’d be foolish to bet against Pogba overtaking this total when his career comes to an end. The Frenchman has already scored 68 times in all competitions and is blessed with ice-cool composure in front of goal. 

His propensity for converting penalties – in spite of his completely ridiculous run-up – and his knack for smashing home the occasional free kick is further evidence of Pogba’s superior scoring credentials. 


Tackling 

Graeme Souness

​Admittedly, Souness would not be able to get away with half of the tackles he used to put in during the 1980s today. For whatever reason, lunging at the opposition at shoulder height to “let them know you’re there,” is frowned upon now.

Joking aside, Souness is leaps and bounds ahead of Pogba in the tackling department. Back in his heyday, the Scotsman struck fear into the hearts of midfielders everywhere – with the mere threat of a big tackle often enough to force the opposition into relinquishing control of the ball.

Pogba in contrast, averaged just over one tackle per game in the ​Premier Le​ague last season – and even less in Europe. In fact, since arriving at United he has never averaged over two tackles a game during a single campaign. 


Dribbling 

Paul Pogba

​Though he is well known for his love of a big tackle, Souness’ more graceful attributes should not be ignored. 

The midfielder was capable of breaking the lines with some inventive dribbling and an explosive turn of pace.

Despite this, Pogba shades this category. His close control is freakishly brilliant and this, combined with his dominating physique, make him one of the most unique dribblers in world football. 


Leadership 

Graeme Souness,Joe Fagan

​If football had its own dictionary, it would only be right that the entry for leadership was just a photo of Graeme Souness.  

He skippered Liverpool through one of the club’s most successful ever periods, inspiring his teammates with each complete midfield performance. 

Captaincy has change a great deal in the modern game and Pogba could yet prove to be strong, leadership material. No way he’s getting his picture in the 90min football dictionary though. Well, unless it’s next to ‘dabbing’ of course.


Club Accomplishments​

Alan Hansen,Kenny Dalglish,Graeme Souness

​Five First Division titles, three European Cups, three League Cups, one Scottish Premier Division…the list of Souness’ honours goes on and on. 

As we touched on before though, Pogba’s trophy cabinet is also pretty impressive. Four ​Serie A triumphs, two Coppa Italias, an EFL Cup and one Europe League. There’s plenty of time for him to catch the former Middlesbrough man up as well. 

For now though, Souness wins this category. 


International Accomplishments

FBL-NATIONS-FRA-NED

​This one is very easy to decide. Pogba’s won a World Cup with France and Souness is Scottish – so he has not. 

However, the ex-Blackburn boss did play in a few high profile tournaments for the Tartan Army. Souness appeared at the 1978, 1982 and 1986 World Cups, though he experienced very little success. 

Pogba would have been in line to add to his international medal collection this summer, before coronavirus forced Euro 2020 to be postponed. 


Overall

There are many different ways to judge a the value of a player. Statistics, blind opinion, who would win in a one vs one game down your local leisure centre. 

All valid suggestions and all approaches that we have taken into account when deciding that overall Graeme Souness – as downbeat and unreasonable as he can sometimes be – deserves to be considered a superior footballer to Paul Pogba…for now at least.

The Scot’s ridiculous trophy haul – the European Cups stand out in particular – and all-round mastery of the central midfield position does not lie. 

Saying that, Pogba has more than enough time to carve out his own legend and maybe even one day eclipse Souness’ magnificent footballing legacy.


For more from Matt O’Connor-Simpson, follow him on Twitter!





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