Adil Rami: France teammate Paul Pogba 'has become a leader'
David Ramos - FIFA / FIFA / Getty

France defender Adil Rami has singled out Paul Pogba for praise for his role in the nation winning its second World Cup.

Pogba has been criticised since his return to Manchester United for fluctuating form and a perceived lack of defensive effort, but he formed a formidable partnership with Chelsea star N'Golo Kante in central midfield for Les Bleus in Russia and scored his nation's third goal in the final.

Rami, one of only two French players not to see any action during the triumphant World Cup campaign, had plenty of time to watch the midfielder. He said, as reported by the Guardian's Amy Lawrence: "I can tell you that Paul Pogba - I don't know how and I don't know from where - has become a leader.

"He proved it to us. He showed it. He's the one that showed the way. He was the strong man of the France team."

Shortly before the World Cup, Didier Deschamps was forced to defend his midfield star after Pogba was jeered by French fans in Nice, suggesting the former Juventus man was a victim of inflated expectations. Pogba had himself come out weeks before that incident and suggested he is "judged differently" to other players in his position.

His performances in Russia may have gone some way to easing that criticism, as he showcased a noticeable improvement in the diligence with which he carried out his defensive duties - an area for which he had been chastised in the media last season.

With under four weeks to go until United begins its Premier League season, Pogba is unlikely to be ready in time for the domestic kickoff, but he will expect to have solidified his spot in Jose Mourinho's midfield after his World Cup displays.

Adil Rami: France teammate Paul Pogba 'has become a leader'
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